Location: Long Beach, California, United States

We moved to Israel thinking, rather naively that it was our true home, but after many months of trying to assimilate, learn the language and seeking employment we were forced to face the TRUTH! Israel is a bit backward, they still tend to mix religion with government and they are gravely biased by the belief of the Ultra religious who make it difficult for secular, everyday Jews to get along.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Israel at War

As the days pass and here in the US we scavange for any bit of "real" news of the town in whci we lived, I finally came to despair somewhere in the night last night! I woke thinking I heard air raid sirens, it was only an ambulance passing by our street, fitfully I returned to a disturbed sleep, I woke again thinking I heard bombs in the was only thunder.
Finally I moved from the bed to the floor at the foot of the bed, not wanting to disturb my husband who had worked hard all day in terribl heat! There I lay for several hours, in the darkness I heard crying, Israel crying for her children, my face was wet with my own tears...tears for the friends still there in Tzfat, tears for those who had fled leaving behind their lives not knowing when they could return, tears for the children I had seen being disembarked from an Nefesh b'Nefesh flight with their parents earlier in the week in Jerusalem! I wept thinking of the dream Theo and I had of living in Israel, home of the Jews. And then I stopped weeping...a sense of quiet crept over me. Not the quiet of peace, but the deeper quiet of understanding.
Yesterday while surfing the net I found a wonderfully well written piece by a private journalist who went to Tzfat to see what was happening to that ancient mystical city, he wrote from his heart, about the destruction, the lack of people in the street, his disappointment of wanting to visit a Shul and being told he could stand in the doorway, his sorrow over a small dog who was being held by his owner, poor pup a victim of the shelling of Hezzbolah.
My thoughts spun round to Theo's and my experience there in Tzfat, we had believed that we would be welcomed, we found that we didn't fit in, we couldn't go backwards in time to obey all the myriad and sundry man made rules that we faced if we wanted true acceptance from a community, a shul. I thought of this sentences from someone whom I consider a friend there in Tzfat; " Those not affiliated with shuls, we don't need to worry about, for the most part. Not because we don't care about them, haz v'shalom-G-d forbid. Only because they were the first to flee. Boy, they were out of here before I could blink. " Again the tears ran down my cheeks, because the truth is people who are not affiliated are dispensible, through away folks, like the unwanted deformed or crippled children of India. Had we still been living in Tzfat I am certain we would have been amoung those who fled, we have children, and four beautiful grandchildren here in the US, and three great nephews, family, when we decided to leave we thought we would never come back here, we thought we would call Israel home, but that didn't happen. We love the country of Israel, the idea of a country where because we are Jewish we belong, but we didn't belong in the place where we wished to live. We were misfits!
So we are here in America and in the dark hours of the night, I cry and pray and ask for peace in the mid est, and I don't cry or pray selectively, I weep for our brothers and sisters in Lebanon...Yes! our BROTHERS AND OUR SISTERS...remember Abraham had two sons, one the father of Jews the other the father of Muslims...I pray for all the injured and frieghtened on both sides, and especially for the children.
THere on the sheet on the floor last night in the quiet that comes when a person is all cried out, I realized that the people of that part of the world are much more alike then they are different...both the religious Muslims and the religious Jews are loathe to accept anyone that isn't exactly like them, the ultra religious on both sides are hateful, unkind, and prejudiced peoples. They shut out systematically anyone that won't adhere to their idea of "religious behaivor".
Isn't it a terrible thing that while the war rages on, the TRUTH is that as long as the religious fanatics on both sides continue to exist there can be no real, no lasting PEACE! Isn't it a sad statement on our modern society that we continue to cling to fanatic religious beliefs that seperate us more quickly than WAR! If there is ever to be a true and lasting PEACE not just in the middle east but throughout the world, mankind while have to reinvent religion, we will have to come to some understaning that G-D just is and Religion in all it's varying forms is man made as a toil to control and manipulate people, to make them feel seperate, apart from and in many case better than "OTHERS" much like "those not affiliated with" and after that you could add the names of many of the worlds greatest religions...Catholisim, Judaism, Muslimism and all the others too numerous to list. Point is Israel is a Jewish state, but if that is true than it would be accepting of all Jews regardless of their "affiliation or non-affiliation".
THis war is not just about two soldiers who were kidnapped, it isn't about the age old battle for land, it isn't about occupation, is about HATE! Yes, HATE...the type of dislike that causes one group to believe that they are somehow better than another group, the type that is taught from an early age, and becomes a part of a persons belief system, it is about the inability to see that we are all HUMAN, that the death of an inocent Lebanese child, or Israeli child diminishes us all...yes ALL of us are merely HUMAN!
If there is ever to be a true and lasting world peace we must come to understand that we all live here together...we are one world, not many and we are all resposible to each other, not just to those who are like us!