Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Now Is the Time- Stand with Israel IN Israel

I’m not brave. I hate the sight of blood. I lock my car door when I drive through dangerous neighborhoods. I write these words of introduction so that you understand the words that follow do not come from someone with real or fake bravado.

The United States State Department has issued a an advisory against travelling to Israel. I don’t know the protocols that lead to these advisories, but I do know the facts on the ground. I have spent more than three weeks as the head counselor for Camp Sdei Chemed, a touring program for Anglo teens. We have travelled from the north to south, and from east to west. I am using my laptop a short drive away from Eilat. We are careful and risk averse. We have more than 40 young men (there is also a separate girl’s program) whose safety is in our hands, and we take that very seriously. At the same time, we are here to experience Israel. To give our boys a love for this great land, and the chance to see it in an organic and real way. We have been to the Fraenkel shiva house, put on a free carnival for children who were scared of the sirens, visited hospitals to sing and play music for the patients, and prepared packages for soldiers and people in the south. We have also gone on stunning hikes, interacted with the locals, gone biking around the Kinneret, scuba diving in Eilat and more. I have heard a grand total of three sirens in my time here, and at no moment have I felt that I was in danger.

I’ve spent more than three years of my life in this wonderful country and here’s the thing. I’ve never felt happier to be here. My presence tells my friends and their fellow citizens that they are not alone. That Americans don’t just come here when it is easy. Being here at this time has increased my desire to live here once again. The achdus I have witnessed, the joy I have experienced watching our campers dance with Israeli soldiers at the kotel, and the strong, proud resolve I have witnessed from Israel’s citizens, reminds me how much I belong here.

I know that Israelis appreciate the rallies that are taking place throughout the world in support of the Jewish State, particularly when there are so many hate filled-rallies going on at the same time. Still, what they really want, what they really deserve is to see as many people here as possible. To see how much support they have throughout the world. Now is the time to visit, to book plane tickets for Succos, to make sure that your next vacation is here. If you are worried about travelling to dangerous areas, I’d advise you to stay out of Chicago. I hear it’s a war-zone over there.

No comments:

Post a Comment