Where do I even start? A few weeks ago heartbreak. The three boys did not come home in the way we had prayed for. The protests, the hash tagged signs and the solidarity of the Jewish community amounted in three funerals followed by retaliation of an innocent Arab boy by our own hands (extremists…but Jews just the same). This is the first time as a Jew I have felt connected to what’s happening in Israel.
Time has only brought more bloodshed. I find myself proudly defending Israel on a daily basis. Although having said this I also find it difficult to defend a country that I’ve never been to not to mention that also has a rather complicated and controversial past that I am not too well versed in. The Middle East is a complicated place so I will keep my argument simple: this war is not about the land or hating the everyday innocent people that live within the boundaries of Gaza. It is about fighting terrorism, it is about fighting for our peoplehood. Hamas wants the Jewish people dead at any cost. Their hate runs so deep that there is no room to compromise. I’ll be honest…I didn’t know much about Hamas before a few weeks ago. They were founded to liberate Palestine. That is their right and I don’t blame them— even as a Zionist. However in this process they have stripped themselves of their own humanity. They thrive on hatred and how to justify it. They are so blinded by their mission they forget to look after the safety of their own people. This is what extremists do.
I am repulsed at all the anti Arab videos/propaganda I have seen posted on Facebook. Just as I am appalled that there are Muslim children learning to hate Jews I would hate to think that we are indoctrinating the same attitudes within our own community. I think it is unfair not to mention an inaccurate representation to lump all followers of Islam with the extremist groups. We need to be mindful and not slip into the ways of those we are fighting against.
So as I sit comfortably at my desk in New York City not having to prepare myself for an air strike or feeling imminently threatened as an American Jew I think of all those fighting for my right to even exist and to have the chance to call Israel my home. Many of the soldiers there I know personally or are good friends of friends here. My thoughts are also turned to the innocent lives that have been shattered due to the violence on both sides. May we see and feel peace soon.