Those that know me well will not be surprised at the launch of my blog. Some might even welcome it. For ever since we came home (on 14 October 2011), I haven’t missed an opportunity to share the sheer, unadulterated joy of making the journey to, and settling in, Eretz Yisrael. And neither have I allowed any of the usual (and some less than usual) frustrations and tribulations of life in the Promised Land diminish my appreciation of its unparalleled beauty.
Of course, my unsolicited exultations have not met with universal approval. What about the poverty? And the prices? And the schools? And the corruption? And the crime? To name just a few of the sharp-edged issues regularly thrown at me in an attempt to pierce my idealistic bubble.
Now, I don’t deny or belittle any of the above issues – or the tens, perhaps hundreds, of others that would rightly sit with them on our master To-Do list as we continue building our young country.
But, equally, I insist that these issues do not render ugly what was once beautiful. Instead, rather like when a beautiful child becomes a rebellious teenager – the inherent, natural beauty tends to get concealed. Some people will forget just how beautiful the child was. Others might never have known. And yet some will continue to see the very same beauty in this difficult adolescent as they saw throughout its earlier less complicated years.
Recent weeks in Israel have been truly horrible. We have been reminded – in the most heart-wrenching fashion – that our enemies will stoop to nothing to inflict hurt and pain on us. And, equally, we need to recognise that amongst the Jewish community we have people who are capable of committing crimes of equal abhorrence. It feels like we have been collectively punched to the ground and then kicked in the head just as we were starting to pull ourselves up again.
And, whilst our detractors react to these events by drawing greater strength in the rightness of their convictions, I fear that we – the Jewish People – find ourselves literally staggering around not knowing what to think, what to do, how to react.
For me, it is simple. It has been an appalling period. But let’s not allow this period to blur for us or conceal from us the inherent and eternal beauty of Eretz Yisrael. Let’s not allow these painful events to erode our absolute commitment to the cause of Zionism or to question the justice of that cause.
Instead, Am Yisrael (wherever we live) should use this exceptionally difficult moment to re-affirm our unqualified love of the Land and our love, as Jews, for each other. We should stand up and proudly re-commit to Zionism – the movement that makes real the bond between our People and our Land.
Because from such love will come renewed confidence and from renewed confidence will come purpose. Driven by love, not fear, we will rise to the challenges that we face every day. And we will succeed.