I’m in Akko (ancient Acre). Over the millennia, many a battle was fought here: Jews, Romans, Crusaders, Napoleon…Today, I’m at a wedding by the sea. Modern Israel.
The bride grew up in Croix Falls, Wisconsin, where her parents (mom Jewish/dad not) worked in drug rehab. She had little to none Jewish education. But when she got to university, she saw a table on campus where activists were distributing anti-Israel propaganda. She stopped at the table, read their literature and started arguing with them about their facts. But they weren’t interested in facts or history. They started shouting her down as a “fascist” and accusing Israel of being an “apartheid” state.
Then she had a Moses moment. She made a choice. She said: “you’re talking shit about my people,” and she overturned their table. Campus police was brought in and she made a decision: I’m either here or with my people…A few months later, she landed in Israel as a new immigrant. That’s when we met her and became her Israeli family. A few months after that, she drafted and became a combat soldier in the “territories”, the Wild West of the Middle East.
That’s when he saw her. He’s a major in the Israel Defense Forces and he’s of Yemenite background. Yemen is a country that some believe is named after the Israelite tribe of Benjamin. Jews have lived there for over 3,000 years. But, today, there is not a single one left in Yemen. The campus activists in the United States don’t care that one of the oldest Jewish communities was persecuted into extinction. But the Yemenite Jews are not dead. They are very much alive in Israel. When the young major saw this blonde, blue-eyed, American in the front lines of the battle against Palestinian terror, he fell in love.
Among the rock throwing and the Molotov cocktails, improbably, she too fell in love and hitched a ride with the young officer. Today, I’m dancing at their wedding with my family and her family that came in from the United States.
Who would have thought? One comes from a community that no longer exists and the other from a community that is assimilating into extinction. And yet…despite the Molotov cocktails, the rock throwers, the assimilationists and the propaganda….they are building a home in the Jewish state.
I look around. The girl with the very short skirt and the very long legs is a tank instructor, the boy twirling on the dance floor is an anti-terror specialist, my eldest daughter trained dogs to sniff out bombs and my second eldest daughter came straight to the wedding from officer school.
What a miracle we live in. All around me is joy. Looking at them dancing, nobody would know that these young people are defending their country with their lives. And now the newly weds will build a family.