Yoni Alon
Makes a delicious schnitzel

Do not lose hope on me

In recent weeks, I have noticed more people around me expressing a feeling of frustration in light of the political puzzle that is now taking shape in Israel. This frustration derives from their expectation that the emerging government is not going to advance Israel toward a future that includes peace and a viable two-state solution.  These individuals are disturbed to the point of completely losing hope that the state of Israel will survive and overcome its array of complex and seemingly intractable challenges.

I never feel comfortable with losing hope. I’m one of these people, perhaps naïve, that identify hope as one of the main reasons humanity has accomplished so much. It is that same hope that propels humanity to make the necessary changes and solve some of its most pressing issues when there is a widespread understanding that change is needed.

As a human being, as a Jew, as a modern Zionist “2015 style” and as an Israeli, I cannot allow myself to lose faith in the vision and wonder of the State of Israel. We are moving forward! Against all odds and predictions, we are pushing onward to overcome an array of challenges. When difficult matters confront us, we assess, we study and we make a move. We have such a wonder in our hands – the Jewish state. Such a wonder that was the ultimate dream of passed Jewish generations – who are we to put an end to this dream? Who are we to throw that dream in the abyss?

As someone who aspires to represent Jewish Israelis of my age, the same Israelis that in two decades from now will assume key positions in the Israeli society, I need to take such a stand. How can one grow in such a country? How can a parent raise children without believing that real change and positive outcomes are, in fact, achievable?

It is indeed a possibility that the new government will not push us forward into a future of peace with our Palestinian neighbors. This line of thinking makes sense not only by understanding the beliefs and principles of those who are going to occupy the coalition seats in Jerusalem but also from looking at the Palestinian leadership. Neither Gaza nor the West Bank are ready to make any significant concessions when it comes to planning the future Palestinian state.

We must not, however, abandon hope that a future peace is possible. I ask you to maintain your beliefs in a future that includes my unborn grandson working together with a Palestinian friend and colleague on a cure for cancer at the Tel Aviv university (hopefully somewhere in the year 2073 or so).

And to you, the Jewish parent I met recently, who refuses to send his kids to “Israel events” in the community, I say “Have no fear!” Provide your kids the option of choosing for themselves what their own Israeli narrative will be. Expose them to Israel education; allow them to ask you tough questions, even when these questions include words like “occupation” and “checkpoints”. The world they are about to enter is tough and you should not mislead them. Have them engage with Israel at a young age – otherwise, when they march through the gates of college for the first time and hear about the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Movement, they will not have the knowledge or the tools to distinguish between lies and truths, between right and wrong.

I have no option but to believe in the things I believe in. I have no passport but my Israeli one; I have no history but the one that includes visits to Auschwitz and Majdanek; I have no cherished language other than Hebrew. I could write in English and improvise my way through the streets of Lima with some Spanish but as long as I live, I will always dream in Hebrew.

This is my vision; this is my Chalom (Hebrew for dream).

About the Author
Yoni Alon is an Israeli consultant and educator who has been building bridges between Israelis and non-Israelis for over a decade. He began his journey as an Israeli JAFI Shaliach/Emissary in Denver. During his seven years in the IDF (Maj res.), he supported the comprehensive cooperation between the IDF and the U.S. military and served in the border region of Gaza and Egypt. In the last eight years, he has been leading educational projects in the fields of Jewish and Israel education for NGOs and government organizations, including Masa, JAFI, ANU Museum, WZO, Momentum Unlimited, the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, and more.
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