Disclosure: Author has no financial interests to disclose. I simply have a vested interest in boosting the economy and morale of my new home.
As the sun sets this evening, the Nine Days set in. Culminating in the Fast of the Ninth of Av, this period marks the mourning period over the destruction of the Temple. Traditional mourning customs include refraining from meat, wine, and music. Yet, as the recent cliché goes, Israel has been in this state for weeks already.
Rocket attacks have seen the Backstreet Boys and Neil Young [ed note: may this be the only time I mention these two acts in the same breath] cancel high profile concerts, not to mention the postponement of up and coming local acts bringing Woodstock to Jerusalem. Summer teen programs have stayed home en masse, and even a Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah ceremony was cancelled due to security concerns. Locals now fear the imminent cancellation of the granddaddy of them all; the Jerusalem Wine Festival – that modern day adaptation of Tu B’Av in which twenty and thirtysomethings drink and mingle in a classy, socially-acceptable climate.
The tourism lull reached a fever pitch last week, when the FAA deemed Israeli airspace to be less safe than that of Pakistan and the Ukraine, resulting in a string of flight cancellations that is said to have caused more economic damage than many of the BDS efforts.
Now reports are emerging uncovering Hamas’ master plan for the terror tunnels. For years, these reports allege, Hamas has been plotting a massive attack scheduled for the first night of Rosh Hashanah in which they were to use these tunnels to kidnap Israeli civilians from their homes to use as carnage leverage against Israel.
It is our turn for proportional response. Turn these days of thwarted terror into a true statement of solidarity. As we appeal for placement in the Book of Life, let us show the world that living well is the best revenge. Diaspora, please join us in Israel this Rosh Hashanah.
Better yet, let us all spend Rosh Hashanah in the Western Negev. Fill the hotels, synagogues, and restaurants in Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Sderot. The field hostels on nearby Kibbutzim. Give the local economy a much needed boost while spending the tedious three-day holiday in style.
And it is more affordable that you think. Many of you were taking Thursday and Friday off work already. Some of you booked off Wednesday as well (the holiday begins Wednesday evening). Furthermore, think about how much money you will save not paying your local synagogues 500 dollars a person to squish into benches and partake in a turf war that puts the current Gaza conflict to shame.
But what about the airfare? El Al, this is where you come in. You are going to add extra flights during these critical days. And you are going to charge fair prices for these tickets. After last week’s price gauging debacle, your goal this Rosh Hashanah is not to make a profit, but to make amends. Besides, is that not what the High Holidays are all about?
Care to spend these days immersed in prayer? Great! Beachfront introspection more your thing? Also great! Either way, how would you rather spend Judgement Day than among the People at a time like this?
Consider yourselves invited.