I’m sure you know what it’s like: that coulda-woulda-shoulda moment. The one you missed, the opportunity that zipped right by, when you could have said something important but at the time, you were preoccupied by more trivial issues (and didn’t want to offend someone dear to your dear ones). The fleeting, appropriate second when you should have asked the woman who “loves everything Korean”, yet refuses to go to Israel “because it’s too dangerous”, (even though the horror of the terror attack in San Bernardino was just a few days previous), whether she is aware of the fact that Korea wouldn’t give a damn about HER if she were threatened, as a Jewess.
Why do I feel that it was my place to cite what’s actually going on these days, when global terrorism incites rampant xenophobia, and there’s a US Presidential candidate for a major political party calling for the locking down of US borders to all those of a specific religious persuasion? Was it not my place to point out that Jews need their Jewish homeland as surely as a pigeon needs its homing instinct?
How easily we forget that history (especially the dangerous chapters) has a tendency to repeat itself. How does the rejection of the St. Louis, the ocean-liner packed with Jewish refugees escaping persecution during the Holocaust, sent back to the clutches of the Third Reich, not haunt the collective memories of all Jews?
Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, and, as such, the insurance policy for Jews all over the world. The precious symbiotic relationship between Israel and the Diaspora needs to be nurtured for our future generations.
Don’t get me wrong – I love America. And while Israel is far from perfect, I have put my life on the line for this country (and would do it again). Israel is important enough to me to be willing to stay here and grapple with my fellow Israelis about what I believe needs to be changed. I am immeasurably proud to be a citizen of what I believe are two noble and basically moral countries.
I went to my birthland for a seven-day whirlwind visit, touching down in three different states, doing hasbara in two of them (I know – to some that is a “dirty word”) spanning several time zones and far more hours in the air for what is within my usual comfort zone over the course of a week. In that time I met many people with differing beliefs. While I do believe that everyone is entitled to their own perspective, this encounter was a troubling eye-opener, since I fear that this woman represents many others who feel as she does, about Israel. I cannot fathom how a Jewess can be “crazy” about a foreign culture, yet so uninterested in supporting the homeland of her roots, her ancestors and her descendants.