Since this is my first post I would like to start at the beginning. I would like to begin with the moment that I ceased to just be an American Jew who lit candles and studied the Holocaust, and began to understand what it meant being not just a Jew but an advocate for human rights. Last May, something changed in my life, I applied to go to Israel at the age of 19. At the time I knew nothing about Israel aside from two things: One that it was a state with a Jewish identity and history, and two that my father would not drink Pepsi because at some point they had boycotted Israel.

Not being the type of person who could ever go to a country and know nothing about it, I began to do my research and did what any person my age would. I typed Israel into google, which led me to being what I now recall as both horrified and traumatized. I saw terms like Apartheid, Genocide, and human rights violations that gave me pause. How could my people, the Jewish people do this even in an effort to get back our land? And then I started to really read, and what I found was much worse. I found that most of these articles were lying most, if not all of the time and that Israel was a true vibrant and ever changing democracy. I found people who were inventive and talented, and were willing to stand up for what they valued. Hidden among the lies written by haters of not just this country, but Jews in general I found the truth about Israel.

Then two short months later I got to visit, I got to see things that I could of never imagined, and feel things I had never felt. Israel from the first moment I left the plane and stepped onto the ground felt like a home. At the airport, I expected to see Israeli Jews, and maybe a few foreigners. What I saw was, Arabs and Jews and a whole bunch of people that were not identified by their religion or culture. And the languages being spoken? It reminded me of being in the streets of the city in the New York where at any given time you could be unable to understand people having conversations, because of the language barrier. Though I soon found that most people spoke English and that I was more easily understood then I thought. The trip was such an incredible experience for me , I visited the Kotel, which is the second holiest place for Jews aside to the Temple Mount, where the temple used to sit. Going there I felt a sense of spirituality, of hope and desperation, I had never seen nor felt. To think that thousands had died protecting the country and had fought to give back this part of history to our people gave me chills. In addition, I hiked Masada in summer weather and learned of the story of Jews who facing slavery and execution by Roman hands, chose their own fate. I went into a Shuk a marketplace in which I spent a considerable amount of shekels on beautiful gifts to take home to my family. and I made incredible friends who to this day  I still speak to.

Though, equally important I really started a journey and I then learned what i would begin to fight for. What we must all fight for, fight to protect and keep. That as lovers of Israel we must understand that she is not perfect as nothing is. I have since then studied the rise of Zionism and fight to regain our country. I have read about her fight to regain the whole of Jerusalem part of which after the war of Independence had been occupied by Jordan until 1967, and in that same war the gaining of the historic Judea and Samaria territories that till today are considered according to International Law Disputed and not Occupied. And I will tell you, this is a fight. This is a fight to maintain the identity of the only Jewish State in the entire world which sit on a land the size of New Jersey and is surrounded by many large Arab and self defined “Muslim” states who have attacked it countless times and lost. It is a fight being waged in every country of the world between those who support Israel and those who, while seeking to destroy not just a country, but a people hide their true message among what they declare to be advocating for human rights of the Arabs that reside or resided in this land. While some say a solution must be reached, it must be a just and fair agreement that odes not compromise the security of the State of Israel.

I understand this to be true and i have and will continue to be on the side of justice and stand with Israel. The only democracy in the entirety if the middle east, a Jewish homeland that is open to all peoples and all cultures. Thank you for reading and looking forward to so much more Lianne