I love Israel and am angry with it at the same time. I am tired of the world not ‘getting’ Israel and tired of people questioning me about its right to exist. Why is it so hard to understand that I want to belong to a community of Israelis, just like the French have France, the Italians have Italy, the Swedes have Sweden and so forth. I feel a special affinity with Israelis when I am in Israel and here within my book group. It is different than with American Jews. We have physical properties in common, talk and read our beautiful Hebrew, are loud and opinionated and very tribal. We are family oriented, have our favorite foods and music. Education, generosity, getting to know the world are all important and so forth. I can go on and on.
I am a global citizen, Israeli and American. More of us are talking about one big global family. But we are not there. We have a lot of work to do towards peace and getting along. As long as European countries don’t merge into one nation, or the countries of the Far East or the African countries, I want to belong to my Israeli community.
Yes, I know people will raise the Palestinian question. I believe Israel needs to end the occupation and Israelis need to acknowledge the Nakba. But at the same time I would like the Palestinians and everyone to acknowledge that the world did not take care of us Jews during the Holocaust or prior to it. We need a country to be safe in. I am sorry the Palestinians got stuck with us but there is a profound reason Israel is where it is and all know it. The time has come to move on and face all our losses. We have a chance to create a beautiful cultural region that is economically sound and technically advanced.
Since I visited the West Bank and started my blog I have been navigating between two worlds, Israeli and Palestinian. Each of them is similar in their rigidity. When I mention to Israelis something good about Palestinians they bring up Hamas without fail. When I just mention the word Israel, Palestinians bring up the occupation, without fail. Many cannot see the other as humans with needs and wants just like them.
There is a part that is painful about people’s responses to my blog. Most are positive, however I see hate expressed from both sides in black and white that is raw and almost evil. I am waiting for the goodness in all of us to come out. It is there and it can.