Reading my facebook/twitter/tumblr before bed I’m going over & over the things written by my family & friends in Israel…(except obviously the ones we won’t be hearing from in the coming days who have been called up on reserve duty, some of them I know are standing on the border of Gaza) those first hand accounts so real and so raw - and exactly what I need right now.
A Rav I know reminded everyone that as Jews in the diaspora we have a special obligation to daven for our family and friends in Eretz Yisroel; to feel their pain and their anxiety. No one needs to tell me that - my heart hurts, my jaw is tight, and sleep is elusive.
Further reading my news feed I know I am not alone. So many people are posting and reposting articles, blogs, links, videos, status updates by friends, and pictures about what is happening in Israel right now and what has been happening for the last 3 years, 12 years, 60 years. It seems to me like all of Klal Yisroel is feeling what I am feeling.
Why we all feel so intensely about what is happening is not because a Rav told us to. It’s because we are all connected to this place whether because we went on Birthright or because we went in high school, or for Yeshiva/Seminary, or because our family and friends are there…or because we have an intangible and hard to explain complicated connection to a land where our ancestors have lived for thousands of years and where Jews have been from Abraham until now. And, to be clear, I’m not necessarily talking about the government of Israel, because even if you don’t agree with the policy of the Israeli government - you likely still LOVE Israel. Like I said, I can’t really explain it. The closest I can come is describing that first trip I made to Israel after my Birthright trip. It was like when you are traveling to see a friend you miss and love with all your heart - you want to jump off the plane and run into their arms. Everyone knows that feeling. I couldn’t wait to get there and just hug…the land? I’ve been in love with Israel ever since we first met. I want to kiss the ground when I get off the plane.
Why do we all feel the need to share what is happening and what the REAL story is? Because we know an injustice has been done in the media for far too long. No country is perfect, but what has been perpetuated in the media is a travesty. All we want is for the world to see what we see - that Israel gave the Palestinians the land they wanted. We tore families from their homes and tore down their schools, synagogues and businesses. We gave them the land they asked for - for peace. We didn’t get peace.
Israel supplies Gaza with power, water and food. Israel treats Palestinians in their hospitals (even now during a war). Gaza could have become the “Singapore of the Middle East” but instead they chose to put their energy into firing rockets into southern Israel - into homes schools and playgrounds. Into the towns where my teachers, Rabbis, family and friends live. Israel has more than a right to defend its citizens; it has an obligation. As an aside, for those who choose not to live in Gaza, did you know Arab citizens of Israel can vote and even hold office - just like a Jewish citizen of Israel. Did you know that Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the US? Did you know that they were voted into power by the people of Gaza?
So, forgive me if I’m posting too many articles or if I seem preoccupied with the situation…my body is in NYC - but my heart is in Israel.