Why I Stand with Israel. My Personal Stories from Living in Israel.
I find myself at a crossroads today, grappling with a foggy mind that seems to be operating at less than its full potential. I feel a profound void in my chest, making it challenging to articulate my thoughts clearly. Emotions can have a profound impact on our cognitive abilities, and today, I’m addressing a topic that’s both close to my heart and mentally taxing. Just like I did two weeks ago when I shared my apprehensions about discussing the situation in Israel, I once again find myself compelled to talk on this complex issue.
There’s a part of me that would rather stay neutral and avoid taking a stand, but I can’t. It doesn’t sit right with my conscience. I believe it’s essential to be courageous and share my perspective, even if it goes against the grain.
Allow me to take you on a journey through my experiences. I spent two years living in Israel, arriving at the end of 2014. My initial year was in Be’er Sheva in the South, followed by a year in Tel Aviv. My partner and I, both nature enthusiasts, made it a point to explore the great outdoors whenever we could. In the first few months, we embarked on countless weekend adventures.
I vividly remember one particular trip at the Syrian border. We had already done several trips, my first outdoor rock climbing EVER was in Timna, near Eilat, in the southernmost part of Israel. Then another trip, we camped, climbed, and soaked in hot springs by the Dead Sea. Finally, we ventured north looking for another hot spring, and there, my partner pointed out the Syrian border. It dawned on me that Israel is a small island surrounded by walls and fences, bordered by nations that harbor deep-seated hostility and hate towards Israelis. This realization was one piece to understanding the stress that is palpable in Israel and a wake-up call to the precarious situation Israel lives in.
I’ve heard people question Israel’s actions, especially when it comes to conflicts with Lebanon and Syria. Some wonder why Israel would initiate hostilities. From my perspective, it’s crucial to clarify that the people of Israel do not desire war. While I can’t speak for governments, war can be economically advantageous and politically expedient, but it comes at a heavy human cost. The Israelis I know simply wish to lead peaceful lives with their loved ones.
My time in Tel Aviv was filled with precious moments, from spending hours at the dog park to enjoying the beautiful beaches and expansive parks. In a dog park moment, I met an artist from California who adopted dogs who were rescued dogs from Gaza. These dogs had been subjected to horrifying treatment by children who were being indoctrinated into a culture of violence and hatred. This glimpse into the impact of extremism left me deeply disturbed.
The influence of groups like Hamas, which has been in power since 2006, has left its mark on the younger generation. With nearly 40% of Gaza’s population under the age of 15, the cycle of indoctrination and hatred is alarming. When neighboring countries like Jordan and Egypt refuse to accept refugees to avoid importing violence, it’s a heart-wrenching situation for the people trapped in Gaza, and hopefully eye-opening reality for Westerners.
My friends are asking me if peace is possible. From my perspective, it’s challenging to envision a path to peace given the drastically different life-values. The Israelis I’ve known want peace, but the road to reconciliation appears blocked.
In Israel, there are nearly two million people in the Arab Muslim population, with full citizen rights and opportunities. In contrast, the situation is not reciprocated in any Arab countries.
The ongoing media narratives that portray Israel in a negative light is heartbreaking, not only because I love and care about Israel but also because I value my Western lifestyle, freedom, rights, and beliefs. The naivety of many Westerners standing against Israel frightens me of our Western future.
I stand with Israel and its people.
This complex issue doesn’t have a clear and easy solution, and the suffering on both sides is a heavy burden to bear.
In these challenging times, I encourage open dialogue and understanding, even with those who hold different perspectives. Hug your loved ones, connect with others, and strive for peace. As I navigate my way through these complex emotions, one thing remains clear – the pursuit of peace is a cause worth championing.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories, and I hope that we can all contribute to a more peaceful world.
Ps: Feeling stressed? Overwhelmed? Struggling to take care of yourself? This is what I will help you with during the first part of my Food and Mood program. Email me to learn more Chandra@zenodyssey.com