I want to write a love letter to you, Israel. But what do I say? My love for you is not so simple you see. I wasn’t born loving you, it happened slowly over time and without me really noticing.
It has been two months since I’ve left and I miss you everyday. I miss roaming through your loud, busy streets, I miss floating in your oceans. I miss your food, and culture and perhaps the most surprising to me, I miss your people. They became my people, and you are now part of me.
I have celebrated with you, I have learnt with you and I have mourned with you. Yes, you have etched yourself into my mind and wrapped yourself around my heart.
I do believe you love me too. At the core of my love for you is your love for me. You love me more than the any of the countries I have lived in, you value my life more than any government of the countries whose passports I hold. In fairness, their love for me has never been tested. I guess I should thank Hamas, for showing me how much you care. They didn’t seem to mind I was not an Israeli. They didn’t notice that I was only a tourist. They definitely didn’t care that I was just in Tel Aviv to have fun. When my first siren went off, and I ran out of my apartment, they made me an Israeli.
So no, you may not know me so personally, Israel, but I am part of you and I do love you.
I forgive you when you do things I disagree with, when you behave in a way I don’t understand or when you leave me saying ‘only in Israel’, because like your love for me, I love you in spite of your flaws. You do frustrate me though, in a way no other place ever has, I find myself fighting this inner-fight with you, do I defend or criticise you? Am I on the right or the left of you?
I accept you though. You are a quandary I need to think about, to be a part of, to try and solve. It pained me to leave. The type of pain that physically hurts, you know it, right? You too have felt it. I haven’t lost you, but I left the me, you created, behind. I can’t find her anymore and I wonder if that’s because you are finally home for me. Everyone says home is where the heart is, and well Israel, you seem have captured mine.
I can’t promise to always agree with you, or understand you. In fact I doubt I ever will, but I do promise to always stand by you. Not because I have to, I don’t, but because I want to. You are my place and you are filled with my people. You stand by me and I hope one day, when it really counts, I can stand by you in the way you need me to.