My heart lives in Israel

I was born in Lebanon in 1961, and I grew up in the streets of Beirut. Before the civil war that started in 1975, we played in the streets unsupervised, unaware of the fratricide hatred that was brewing. During the war, I saw Arabs kill Arabs, Muslims kill Muslims, and Christians kill Christians. When the war ended in 1990, a quarter million people had been killed.

We took a country that was thriving and beautiful, and we turned it into ruins. My Lebanon has not yet recovered, 27 years after that war ended.

Next door to Lebanon, I saw a country fending for its life, repelling Arab attack after Arab attack. When they weren’t fighting their attackers, they were building a nation. In only a few decades, they had made the desert bloom, and they were a light unto the nations.

We Arabs chose to fight each other, and we chose to fight the Jews. We chose to make them our enemies rather than our friends, and we chose to destroy rather than to build.

I now live in Canada, a great, beautiful, and successful country, but it will never be truly mine. When I watch events unfolding in the Middle East, my body remains here, but my heart keeps travelling back, and it invariably takes me to Israel.

When Israelis live with daily rocket attacks, my heart is in Israel.

When Israelis are stabbed for the crime of being Jews, my heart is in Israel.

When Israel must fight yet one more war that it never wanted to fight, my heart is in Israel.

When one more terror attack kills Israelis who were going to school, or going to work, or going to pray, my heart is in Israel.

When the world condemns Israel for defending itself but ignores that Arabs have rejected peace again and again and again, my heart is in Israel.

When my Lebanon and other criminal Arab regimes gang up to attempt to erase Jewish history in the eternal Jewish city of Jerusalem, my heart is in Israel.

My heart lives in Israel, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, in an office building in Haifa, or on a bus in the busy streets of Tel Aviv.

As long as Israel must fight for the right to exist, my heart will live in Israel. As long as Israel grows, invents, and thrives despite the bombs and the hatred, my heart will live in Israel. As long as my Lebanon is part of the problem and not part of the solution, my heart will live in Israel.

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports the Palestinians' right to self-determination in their own state. Fred supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere.
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