It was Winston Churchill who described Americans and Brits as “two nations divided by a common language.” And it’s true. It seems like we’re talking the same language but actually when you look at it in all its intricacies, it is two very different languages featuring many common words.
We even sound different. Put a Brit and an American in a conversation and to the non-English speaker it could possibly sound like two completely different languages. I should know. I’m British and I “married out,” creating in Eretz Yisrael a complete mish-mash of confusion of British, American and Hebrew languages for my children.
While we’re on the subject of Eretz Yisrael I’ve been feeling the Churchill-implied dichotomy for much of the day today as part of Gush Etzion gets destroyed. Families being turned out of their houses. Our brethren being evicted. And Israel losing a piece of its whole.
I live in Efrat, part of Gush Etzion. My kids take swimming lessons at the Netiv Avot pool. And many of my friends and neighbors were there today, standing in support. I didn’t go for various reasons but I followed the news and reports minute by minute.
And then I wrote to a friend of mine living in Tel Aviv. She knew nothing about Netiv Avot. Never even heard of it. She barely knew that Elazar was part of “Gush Etzion,” a place she’s familiar with most likely just because of me. I wasn’t angry or disappointed. Rather I was struck by how we really are what Churchill might have described as being, “two nations divided by a common country.”