I wear the Star every day. I did before this, too. And I do now. Before, it was sometimes under my clothes, and sometimes over it. Didn’t matter so much. I knew who I was, and I knew what the Star meant. It didn’t matter if others knew it or not.
Sometimes I wore the Star I got from my grandfather who passed away two years ago – a yellow gold star, like what my people used to wear on their arms. Sometimes I wore my own Star – a gift from my husband years ago – white gold, diamonds, a symbol of my identity and a fashion statement all at once.
Since last week, I’ve been wearing the Star outside of my clothes. Deliberately. Furiously. Indignantly. t feels like my Star is angry, as if it’s challenging anyone who sees it. My Star now is a defiance, an ultimatum. It’s almost looking for a confrontation. Because I’m enraged; because I’m sad; because my mom keeps praying; because my feed is full of war; because I had to email my kids’ schools’ principals to remind them to make a statement to the student body condemning terrorist attacks in Israel; because I had to check with my daughter’s Sunday school to ensure they’ll have extra security on premises; because I had to convince some relatives that Israel always alerts civilians before sending rockets. It’s called “knocking on the roof.”
I’m not a political analyst. I’m not a military strategist. I’m not an expert on Middle East history. When I see human suffering, I’m distressed and moved by it. When I read about Palestinians having to flee their homes, I know that’s not fair. I know many of them are decent and kind people who want peace. I know they may not have a place to go, as no other neighboring state has agreed to take in Gaza civilian refugees (as of this writing).
However, there’s no neutrality for me in this war. I am firmly on one side. I am always and forever with Israel, a country that has the right – like any country – to defend itself and its people; a country that has survived for decades among neighboring nations who’d like nothing more than to erase Israel from the face of the Earth. There’s no grey area here for me.
Golda Meir has famously once said, “We have a secret weapon – we have nowhere else to go.” She said this in the 1970s, but it was as true then as it is now. The Jewish diaspora exists all over the world, but there’s only one place that welcomes Jews unconditionally and always has, since its inception. For as long as Israel exists, Jews have a home. Even Jews who, like me, don’t live there; even Jews who have never been there; even Jews who find Israel uncomfortable due to its location among Arab nations; even Jews who don’t like the idea of living under the Iron Dome. And especially Jews who understand why the Dome is necessary. We have nowhere else to go.
I don’t know what the future is. I know that Israel will pursue its enemies without fear and doubt. I also know that its enemies are countless and ruthless. I know the civilian cost is high. I know the moral cost is high. But there’s no other way for Israel and no other way for Jews. We wear the Star and we have nowhere else to go.