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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Some thoughts from Israel


Note: I wrote most of this entry back in November 2009, when I was visiting family in Israel. I finished it on August 22, 2010.

I have been visiting my sister in Israel for a few weeks right now. I notice around me all sorts of things. I notice the children going to school (many very young children walk or bike to school on their own). I notice the adults driving to their destinations. I notice the construction work around me (including two young Ethiopian men with kippot working on electrical wires from under the concrete of the sidewalk).

But most of all what I notice is life, mostly, thank G-d, peaceful life, the sort of life everyone wants to be living.

What I don't understand is why so many people have a problem with this. Why do so many people worldwide think that there is something wrong with Jews living in Israel? Why do so many people pass a twisted moral judgment on the husbands and wives, mothers and children, grandparents and teens just living their lives day to day just like most of us do in the United States?

Many Jews came to Israel after World War II. Many had survived the Holocaust, that genocidal war within WWII whose goal was the utter eradication of the Jewish people. These people came, with nothing, to a land that was largely desolate. And they created, through their own sweat and tears (and not just a bit of blood) a thriving nation, a bastion of democracy in the largely despot-led Middle East, a haven of modern living in a politically and socially backwards region. And those people who weren't Holocaust survivors or children of survivors who came to live in Israel along with the Halutzim (the pre-WWII pioneers who came with their idealistic zeal) and the survivors contributed to the growth of the nation-state.

The Jews in Israel have created a modern country, a technological innovator in the Afro-Asian desert. Israel is a country that third world countries should emulate. It is a country that was built through hard physical work, dedication and brainpower. Israel has managed to collect Jews (and Gentiles) from all over the world, from world leading nations like the US, Canada, France and Britain, from third world countries like Ethiopia, from Arab lands like Yemen, Morocco, Syria, Lebanon, from East Asian lands like India, Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia. And in Israel they all come together, in not so much as a melting pot as a stew pot, each person contributing to the flavor of the whole while retaining the flavor of his/her culture.

So why do so many people in the world spend so much of their time and effort trying to stop this? Why do so many people feel the need to criticize Israel for non-existent transgressions when her amoral neighbors are spreading hatred, keeping their citizens in squalor while the leaders live in opulence, suppressing every freedom their citizens have a G-d given right to?

I know the tendency to root for the underdog. But in this case, the leadership of the Arab/Muslim countries in the Middle Eastern region is keeping the people as underdogs to get sympathy. To be honest, I can't for the life of me understand how the world is so caught up with the comings and goings of a country that makes up such a tiny percentage of both the world's land mass and the world's population (Jews on a whole make up 2% of the US population and .2% -- that's 2/10 of a percent, as in 2/1000 of the world population). And, to be honest, even for those people who feel the need to "root for the underdog", isn't a country that was founded and started by a tiny group of people, who raised it up from desolation, who resisted the urge to allow despotism in their government offices, where women, gays and people of all races and religions are treated with respect, that is surrounded by its enemies (who outnumber them somewhere between 50 and 100 to 1, depending on whose estimate you use) the eternal Underdog?

Check out my other blogs:

Jewish Sandwich
Everything Goes
Jewish Singles
Strong Jewish Women
Bayit and Garden

Check out some of my squidoo lenses (articles):

Strong Biblical Women
Strong Biblical Women 2

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is the right viewpoint. Life is hard enough without people trying to undermine the decent people of Israel.

JH Abeles