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Stephanie Z. Bonder

It’s time to listen

Patriotic Protesters on Kaplan Street

This weekend my family had a double simcha. It was one of my nephew’s bar mitzvah on Shabbat and another nephew’s engagement party on Sunday. I should still be floating on the joy, yet I am feeling so terribly sad. I opened my phone and all I saw was pain and division in the land that I love. I saw our flag waving and I saw the land I love on fire.

I have this problem… I compulsively read the Israeli news. Right now, my heart is breaking. I cannot believe what is happening in the land I love so much. I’m praying that Netanyahu will freeze the judicial review. He must. The insane desire to push through this legislation by the coalition, is tearing apart my homeland. When so many are telling the coalition to take a pause, why not hold up? When you have the heads of the tech industry saying to stop it, the heads of the banking industry saying to stop it, the heads of the universities saying to stop it, the heads of the security of the country saying to stop it, why does coalition feel they could still force it through? They are acting like spoiled, stubborn children who can do whatever they want. Why has Netanyahu allowed this situation to get this bad? Sure, he doesn’t want to go to jail, who would? But he had always stood for the strength and unity of the Jewish people in the past. This legislation is not just tearing apart the people of Israel, it is tearing apart Jewish people around the world.

I was in Israel last month and participated in one of the protests in Tel Aviv. While walking up Kaplan Street, I saw the Declaration of Independence projected on a building with David Ben Gurion’s voice being played along with the words. Whenever I hear that recording I feel pride and joy in the establishment of the Land of Israel, the home of the Jewish people. I felt proud to hear it that night and couldn’t understand why the members of Knesset don’t seem to remember that document.

Of course, Israel was supposed to write a constitution and set up clear rights for the citizens of the Jewish State, and they didn’t. But on the cusp of our nation turning 75, we are destroying so much of what we built. And I say “we” because the Jewish People are one People, wherever we are around the world. With Passover only days away, I include myself in the Jewish People, and the People of Israel just like the answer to the Rasha, “it was what G-d did for me when I came out of the Land of Egypt.” We are all in this together.

The drama that is happening in Israel is affecting Jews around the world. There are protests around the world calling Israel an undemocratic state run by a dictator who will do whatever he wants to silence his detractors. Firing Gallant was the ultimate last straw. Gallant was asking for a pause to reset the trajectory of the judicial reform and try to bring about collaboration in determining what is best for the nation. He said the security of our nation was at risk. Netanyahu firing Gallant was the ultimate proof that Netanyahu cares nothing for the People of Israel, he only cares about being in power and staying in power.

Perhaps the protests of tonight will finally have an effect. Perhaps Netanyahu will finally recognize that these protests are not just a small reaction to the coalition, they are the feelings of hundreds of thousands of Israelis around the country. They are the feelings of thousands of protestors around the world. They are voices that should make a difference.

It’s long overdue and this process must end. When we fight amongst ourselves, we are giving the haters the ammunition they need to finish the job. We can’t let that happen. We must not let that happen. Let’s stop, take time, listen to each other and after Pesach and the Yomim, talk it through and find a peaceful path that will hear the voices of all Israelis.

About the Author
Stephanie Z. Bonder is a proud Jew and lifelong Zionist. Stephanie studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem for her junior year abroad and is currently pursuing her masters in Jewish Education at the Hebrew University Melton School of Education. In her volunteer hours, she is a National Board member of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America where she currently serves on the Antisemitism and Zionist Education Teams. Stephanie teaches teens and adults on Jewish Peoplehood, Zionism and current events in Israel through her involvement with the Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest and her synagogue, Congregation Agudath Israel. All of her blogs are her own personal opinions and do not represent the organizations with which she is affiliated.
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