Sunday, October 11

Israel: Getting Beyond 'Exhaustion' & 'Puppy Love'

An elderly man taking a break on his morning walk, leans against the security barrier in Jerusalem's southern Gilo neighborhood. The several mile long concrete wall protects residents in the facing apartments from gunfire from Arab Beit Jala (see in in the distance), adjacent to Bethlehem. This barrier is not the same as the disputed "Security Barrier," that snakes roughly along the 1967 cease fire line in parts of Judea and Samaria, also known as "West Bank," but was erected for similar reasons: to stop bullets from reaching civilians and schools (in this photo, there's one directly behind the camera) More on this story here. (Photo: Dave Bender, All Rights Reserved)

A powerful pairing - or pairing off - of opinions about the Jewish State:

In "How I’m Losing My Love For Israel," Jay Michaelson, writing in
The Forward admits:

"To paraphrase a recent Jewish organizational tagline, I’ve “hugged and wrestled with Israel” for 20 years now. At first, it was all embrace: Zionist songs and culture nourished me like mother’s milk, and on my first trip to Israel I kissed the tarmac at Ben Gurion, as did the other USY (United Synagogue Youth) kids.

"Eventually, the wrestling came to the fore, particularly as I became more conscious of Palestinians, settlements and religious-secular divides. In 2002, I wrote about being “a leftist and a Zionist” and how difficult it was to maintain those dual political identities. And for several years, I’ve argued for a more nuanced approach to Israel advocacy and education than the hail of falafel balls and the bludgeon of Taglit-Birthright.

"But lately I’ve noticed that I’m becoming a candidate for advocacy myself. I’ve loved Israel for decades, lived there for three years, and studied in detail the subtleties of its society and conflicts. And so it is with the sadness that accompanies the end of any affair that I notice my love is starting to wane."

Daniel Gordis replies:

"The truth is, you and I agree about a lot. We’re both worried about some of what’s happening to Israeli society. We’re both tired of all the equivocating (though probably for different reasons). We’d both love some real leadership around here. We’d both like peace. And we’re both exhausted."

"Maybe it’s time we all moved beyond puppy love and ventured into something more mature, a sort of love that knows that the object of our love cannot, and should not, remain unchanged year after year, decade after decade."

Very worth reading.


Dan - Israeli Uncensored News said...

That guy from the Forward loved a very different Israel, a kibbutznik Utopia, not a Jewish state

Dave Bender said...

Yup - and while I appreciate his critique, having been a volunteer, and then a kibbutz member for several years, there's a time to grow up and stop thinking and wishing that the real world's a campus debate society. As I like to say, "foreign relations is not like PTA night at the Montessori school."


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