Thursday, October 15, 2015

Jerusalem 2015

ISRAEL - once a foreign country, now a second home. Though I have only spent a relatively short time there over a couple of trips, I am forever bound to that land; connected by blood and by people. It is as if I went through the first 39 years of my life not knowing I had a twin brother, but upon meeting him, we felt inseparable. We celebrate each other's joys, we mourn each other's pain and losses.
The violence in Jerusalem is horrifying and impossible for me to ignore. As Hillary Clinton pointed out during the Democratic debate, 90 Americans will die today at the hands of gun violence in America. In Jerusalem this week, far fewer Jews and Arabs will die from the recent violence and renewed terrorist attacks. However, Israel is a country smaller than the size of New Jersey, the state where I got Bar Mitzvah'd. And the fact that terror attacks are occurring once again with frequency is disturbing in and of itself.
Every life counts in Israel. At this point, Jews make up less than one quarter of one percent of the world’s population. That's right, 0.22%. We can't afford to lose any more of them.
I have friends, many close friends, who otherwise agree with me on most issues, but who proclaim that the Jewish State of Israel should not exist and the Jews (who originated on that land and who have inhabited it consistently for thousands of years) should 'go home', 'leave', 'go back to where they came from' etc. However, these people seem unable to face the reality of what has happened to the Jews over the last 5000 years. And I can't say I blame them… It's a pretty lousy story. Not the fun stuff you bring to a campfire.
The Jewish people have been persecuted in and banished from everywhere they have lived on this planet. And early in the last century, at the urging of the British who were in control of the land of the time, Jews returned to the land they started their journey in thousands of years earlier. We 'returned home'. But, not only did Jews return there, they improved it: with agriculture, with industry, and with jobs. And to this day, Israel remains the freest country on the planet for the Arab people. These are facts. Simple as they are complex. There are 22 Arab nations surrounding Israel, some of whom’s governments have vowed to annihilate us. Most of today's Palestinians originated in a few of those countries. From what I understand, mostly from Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. I would never suggest sending them 'back home'. But I do know one thing with every ounce of my being: If any group of people on the planet has endured enough to deserve a tiny nation where they can live freely, it is the Jewish people.
My friend Sarah Tuttle-Singer wrote last week in The Times of Israel 'the Jews are not going anywhere. The Arabs are not going anywhere'. No one should have to leave their home. But, the violence going on in Israel right now is painful to endure. For Sarah and her family, for OferYael and all her family, for Hadar and her family, for Oz, for Ronen and his family, for my friends Deryn & Oshrat . For so many of my friends facing terror on a daily basis now just for being Jewish and existing. I wish there was something I could do or say to make it easier. To retrain the minds of those who hate so passionately. If there was some way I could take their passion for murder and genocide and convert that to something positive, I would do it.
Israel and my cherished friends there, Jewish and Arab alike, my heart aches for you tonight. I share your tears, your pain, your suffering. I wish I could take it all away. I hold tight to my Star of David tonight and as it weighs heavily on my chest, I hold you all firmly close to my heart. That one-of-a-kind Star found in the Shuk in Jerusalem with RisaFelicia & Joel. The one that I desperately tried to find for Eden. I close my eyes, and I am there with you all. Protecting you to the best of my ability.
With undying love and deep concern,

No comments:

Post a Comment