I had been in the airport for hours. Why? Because I didn’t want to spend an entire day imagining how much I would miss the Upper West Side or feeling the pain of the sad goodbye to the capital of the Diaspora Jewry, so I decided to go to the airport earlier than the flight departure hour scheduled to me.
My days on the Upper West Side were beautiful. It was my first travel to United States and it was amazing. I spent most part of my days at Drisha or visiting museums. The best part was the fact that I came to know a Jewish community completely different from my own and the worst part was to know that I couldn’t find that cosmopolitan, well-educated, pluralistic, (in some cases) very assimilated and liberal Jewish world inside of my own country. But, what can I do? Unfortunately, I couldn’t make aliyah to Manhattan. So, I said goodbye to the corner of Broadway with 92th Street, to the shul with partnership minyan and to the incredible cultural life.
I crossed a beautiful bridge and went to the airport.
After traveling to Israel and experiencing the security check at Ben-Gurion airport, I must admit that I always feel uncomfortable in the airports. I feel that I have to be always prepared to prove that I’m Jewish, to prove that I don’t know any Muslims and to answer many questions about my private life. However, the security based on technology and not (so much) on ethnic profiling that I found at that security check in United States made me feel that it was possible to fight against terror and still respect minorities, respect privacy and one’s individual liberties.
I decided to use my free time and the calm of the (almost empty) waiting room to read a book. I tried to read “My Struggle,” written by Knausgaard, but I couldn’t avoid listening to a conversation between an Israeli guy and a Jewish American girl happening just a few chairs away from me. Apparently, both of them were religious and both of them in their twenties. I don’t know how, but they ended up arguing about the fact that Israel destroys the house of terrorist as part of the punishment for their acts, even if they lived with family members, who, in some cases, didn’t know that he or she would commit a crime. The guy believed that the state’s actions were correct. She didn’t put an argument against it.
What a weird subject to talk about inside of an airport, I thought.
“What if the terrorist is Jewish, like the ones who killed the baby of the Dawabsha family, would you still favor the destruction of their houses?” She asked him.
“No, because they are Jews,” he answered.
“What about the idea that everyone is equal under the law?” She asked him.
“But, it is different. Jewish terrorists never do a crime as horrible as the ones done by Palestinians terrorists,” he affirmed.
“Let’s imagine that a Palestinian committed an act of terror and a Jew committed an act of terror, both of them equally horrible, would you still favor the destruction of the house of the Jewish terrorist, even if that involves letting his family homeless?” She asked.
“No… Because it is a Jewish state, it supposed to give preference for the Jews… Listen, I don’t think you have the right values to make aliyah.”
She didn’t comment his answer. She looked upset. He went to the Starbucks.
I don’t know if it was the influence of the liberal ideas from the American Jewish community or the words of the Declaration of Independence that I read during the Independence Day in United States, but I felt sad when I listened to that conversation, among other things, because I think about making aliyah.
I couldn’t avoid questioning myself, what are the right values? Do I have the right values?