Thursday, July 20, 2006
What Is Israel To Me
Several months ago I wrote four pieces on what Israel meant to me, and after a long delay I posted three of them. Before I posted the fourth, tensions broke out, first after the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier in Gaza, and then when two more soldiers were kidnapped in Lebanon. But in reading back, the piece is more poignant now than ever, so I post it in its original format. Additions based on recent events will be posted later today.
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While many people try to make Israel as complex as possible with definitions and cross-definitions, religious vs. secular, morality vs. necessity, Israel to me is very simple: Israel is the survival of the Jewish people.
The history of Judaism is replete with stories of the near-extermination of the Jewish people. In the Bible (or Torah, depending on your faith), motivations moved outside the realm of military conquest in the book of Esther, as Haman wanted to kill the Jewish people to defend his pride. Since then, call it a crusade, pogrom, holocaust, assimilation, or whatever, people have been trying to rid the world of Judaism.
Israel becomes a beacon of hope for the Jewish people. It is a nation that, at all times, stands for the right of the Jewish people to exist. It defends Judaism in times of extreme hatred and prejudice. It becomes a voice for the people in our hour of most extreme need, not necessarily voicing the conscience of the entire people except on one issue: Judaism must survive!
The people of Israel note that the small country resides in a region that unquestionably hates it, and wants it removed. In some ways, this mirrors the plight of the Jewish people around the world. If you are reading this and saying that anti-Semitism is dead, let me tell you, you are fooling yourself. It may not be politically correct to be anti-Jewish (or anti-anyone), but the hatred is still out there, lying just below the surface everywhere we look.
If Israel’s situation mirrors the situation of the Jewish people, the fate of the country mirrors the fate of Jewish people around the world. Additionally, the fight and perseverance seen in Israel mirrors the same in the Jewish people around the world. Neither Israel nor the Jewish people simply accept the hatred of their neighbors; they rally against it, and either by force of will, force of character, or force of arms, Judaism will no longer be a victim.
You see, the fight is for survival, for survival of the people, survival of the beliefs, and survival of Jewish dignity. It is a fight faced by both the Jewish people and by the state of Israel every day. But it is a fight that the Jewish people must win, at any cost; as the cost of losing even one battle is far too great. This is survival, folks, and if your race, religion, or creed were in a battle for survival, you would feel the same way as well.
Other Essays I've Written on Israel:
Israel Meme: The Torah Comes to Life on Gilboa
Real Solutions Between Israel and Palestine
Israel: Many Different People, One Nation
Israel and the Power of God: An Indescribable Force Described
The Danger of Daily Life and Surviving Terror
technorati tags: Israel, Lebanon, Jew, Jewish, Survival
Posted by Scottage at 11:01 AM /