Our struggle for survival is not an illusion.

“Kafkaesque” has made it into the dictionary. Among the various definitions Kafkaesque is something “marked by a senseless, disorienting, often menacing complexity.”

Case in point:
Organisers of a national Holocaust memorial event have banned any mention of Israel.
The trustees of Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland (HETI) have instructed the host of the country’s main Shoah memorial event in January “not to refer to the Jewish State or the State of Israel during any part of the ceremony”. The ban follows a similar bar imposed just days before this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day in Ireland, when long-standing host Yanky Fachler was told to avoid mentioning Israel. He reluctantly complied when his objections fell on deaf ears but, afterwards, complained in writing to the organising body, HETI – only to be told the rule will again apply at January’s event at Dublin’s Mansion House.

It would be very easy to have a daily column that would comment on an incident that reflects the senseless, disorienting, and often menacing complexity of the anti-Antisemitism we are witnessing today.

The response by many that they are not anti-Semitic but anti-Israel, has been dragged to a new low with the ban in Ireland of mentioning the Jewish State or the State of Israel during any part of a Holocaust memorial service.

As a democratic and dynamic country, we are struggling with our identity. Israel is engaged in a necessary and healthy struggle. While internally all the voices are being given the opportunity to be heard, we have to remain grounded in a common reality. And that reality is rooted in the core struggle for survival.

This struggle for survival is not an illusion or a symptom of post-traumatic stress. This fight for survival has been and continuous to be an existential one; physically and spiritually. This fight takes place on two fronts; internally, in Israel and externally, in the rest of the world. To date, we have not had the luxury of focusing our fight on just the internal front. As long as the threat to our survival exists, our options are significantly restricted.

We are approaching another historical event that reminds us of the struggle we currently facing.

The Google definition of Hanuka is: “a lesser Jewish festival, lasting eight days from the 25th day of Kislev (in December) and commemorating the re-dedication of the Temple in 165 BC by the Maccabees after its desecration by the Syrians. It is marked by the successive kindling of eight lights.” A simple description of an event that occurred in Jewish history but consistent with the theme that a group of people wanted to violently eliminate us by extinguishing an aspect of our identity.

Where is Israel?

There is an old anecdote which describes the Jewish holidays; they tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat!

We now have the freedom to choose who we are, how to live our lives and where to live. Let’s not forget why we have these choices and what we need to do to ensure that we will continue to have these freedoms in the future.

About the Author
Bio: Born in Israel, grew up in Montreal, Canada, studied in the States, worked in Toronto, Canada and made Aliyah in 2009. Sara Jacobovici is a 30 year veteran in the health and mental health fields as a Creative Arts Psychotherapist. She lives and works in Ra'anana, Israel. As an expert in the field of non-verbal communication, Sara reconnects individuals with their first language, the creative arts; visual arts, music and movement.