During Israel’s recent election, I had a conversation with a friend of mine about our choices of parties.
He was voting politics. I was voting the planet.
He told me my vote would be wasted. That Israelis will never truly ever be able to focus on social issues – health, environment, climate change, for instance – while there is still a conflict over land.
I chuckled then, acerbically, as I have a few times since moving to Israel 2 ½ years ago.
Oh, how we fight over this land.
The royal We. The We I became since we made Aliyah.
We fight over this parcel or that parcel. This dunam or that dunam. This border or that border.
We argue over who to let in, who to let out. Who we let join, who we turn away.
Does anyone get the joke, but me?
There will soon be no land.
Not if this is how we treat the land we love.
Once our land is used up. Abused up. There will be nothing to fight over.
Once our water becomes too toxic to tolerate, desalinate, calculate.
I walk across this land with my children. I hike. I picnic. I revel.
I see extraordinary beauty.
Wonders. Miracles. Everything the Bible promises and more.
So, so much trash.
I can’t reconcile the beauty with the trash.
I can’t reconcile the love of land with the willingness to defile her.
How is it that a man in khaki protects this land with his gun, with his life, but chucks his smoldering cigarette butt out the window and carries on his conversation?
How is it that a woman holds bitterness in her heart over a farm that used to be her father’s, but without a thought leaves her baby’s dirty diaper folded up in a field that belongs to her neighbor?
And how is that a pair of retirees can so easily snap photographs of their grandchildren dancing like fairies among the wildflowers, but not worry about the broken glass beneath their feet? The rotten smell of someone else’s yesterday’s picnic? The chemicals leeching from empty soda bottles melting in the summer heat?
Why don’t we police the trash throwers with our eyes the way we police women dressed immodestly at the Western Wall?
We don’t we nu-nu-nu the people who mindlessly crumple and drop a folded leaflet to the ground the way we nu-nu-nu our children for making noise in a synagogue during a Bar Mitzvah?
Where are the trash warriors?
Where are the servants of Nature?
Where are those who will truly fight for this land?
So there is land left…
Land left for peace.