Three weeks ago the Jewish world was rocked by the shooting at the Brussels Jewish Museum which killed 4 people (including 2 Israelis) followed by the beating of two Jewish men in Paris the following day.
A month before that it was the shootings at the Overland Park JCC in Kansas City.
All of this happening against the backdrop of the events in the Ukraine and what that may mean for the Jews there.
I would say this has not been a great season for the Jewish people.
There’s no denying it, we are under threat.
In blog posts, Facebook walls and on Twitter feeds everywhere Jews, particularly those in Israel, have wasted no time after each one of these terrible events to rail about how Europe and America are no longer safe for Jews and that those of us who continue to live in the Galut are crazy for risking our safety, for not realizing how “over” it is.
As if those of us who live in the Diaspora are to blame for the violence committed against us because we choose to have our homes outside of Israel.
It’s bullsh*t and it’s cold comfort.
It puts the blame on Jews for having the audacity to think they could live safely in countries outside of Israel, instead of where it belongs, on those who are ruled by and act violently on their own hatred.
As the last few days have taught us bad things don’t happen to Jews only in the diaspora. They happen in Israel too, or at least in the disputed territories, depending on where your politics lie, as if that matters one iota right now (but still I know some a**hat will make a point about it in the comments).
At the moment the whole country of Israel is moving on auto pilot, going to work, caring for their children, doing housework, but Israeli hearts and minds are not in these tasks, but are focused on any news of Eyal, Gil-ad and Naftali and in that very unique Israeli way, clinging to hope that these boys may be quickly found and brought home, and praying that this will not turn into a prolonged situation.
That’s one of the things that I love most about Israel and Israelis, that in times of national crisis, the country bands together, that we feel the pain and loss of another so deeply, as if they were our own. The size of the country, our shared history, experience and culture have created that. The degrees of separation among Israelis are already small, in that everyone seems to have some kind of personal connection to everyone else (friend of a friend, former neighbor, served in the army with the cousin of, whatever). The company I ended up working for in Israel was owned by someone whose major client was a close friend of my cousin, all of that was not known until after I had started working there and this client showed up at the same Shabbat lunch my cousin had invited me to. Everyone has stories like that and that makes everyone in Israel in times of crisis like an extended family. It’s a beautiful and uniquely Israeli thing. Eyal, Gil-ad and Naftali are everyone’s boys and will continue to be until they are brought home.
It’s not about where you live.
Unless of course you happen to live in the diaspora, and then, perhaps it is not your fault exactly, but at any rate you should have known better and moved to Israel.
That’s bullsh*t too.
Bad things happen to Jews everywhere, even in Israel.
What’s the cold comfort now? Is Tel Aviv, Netanya or Haifa the smart choice? Is it these boys’ for being near Hebron in the first place, or for going to Yeshiva in the Gush?
Of course not.
The problem is not where we live. The problem is hate.