My paternal grandfather came from Zhitomir in the Ukraine and my maternal grandfather from Amsterdam, Holland. My parents lived in London, where I was born. My wife and I moved to Bethesda MD, and our children grew up there. Our son lives in California and our daughter in Beersheva, Israel. And now we live in Netanya, Israel. If you map it out that’s quite an arc of Jewish voyaging, a long and perilous journey from persecution to freedom, but not very unusual among Jews. Most of us derive from Eastern Europe, those who managed to leave before the Holocaust traveled to the west, as far away as possible. Some took two or three generations to get to America or Israel. Currently there are just about the same number of Jews (6 million) living in these two countries, although Israel is growing in population while the number of Jews in the US is decreasing.
I don’t know where my great-grandparents came from, but we can be sure that my ancestors on my father’s side came from around Germany (Ashkenaz), while my ancestors on my mother’s side came from Spain (Sepharad). Frankly now I don’t care that much, we have returned to our ancestral homeland and we plan to stay here. I am a true Zionist, Jewish sovereignty means more to me than Jewish religion. So when our elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invokes Israeli sovereignty to justify Israeli freedom of action in defending itself against those who brag that they are going to “wipe us off the map,” we take it serisously. And we don’t have much room for error, as the US does. If we hesitate then all could be lost. We more than hesitated over Hitler, we Jews didn’t take him seriously, we didn’t prepare for the onslaught that was to come and we paid dearly.
This time we are prepared, we are strong and more than capable of meeting the challenge. People have brought up possible difficulties, the Iranians have underground facilities that we can’t reach, our planes can’t carry heavy bunker-buster bombs, Hamas and Hizbollah will retaliate with many rockets, etc. etc. Don’t underestimate us, with or without US coordination. This is where we live and “the buck stops here.”