I was forwarded this list of questions to answer and thought I would slap them up on the blogsite. I learned some interesting things about how I think about things so, thanks... to whom it may concern.
1. Family background and why we choose to live in Israel.
Adele and I have been coming to Israel since our honeymoon over 20 years ago. We came for events such as a wedding, and most recently our son’s bar mitzvah. In addition to this, Adele lived in Israel for 4 years when she was in high school. We have always been Jews that have identified with coming HOME to Israel or Zionists if you prefer. We are spiritual people and being such, found that there was an undertone to normal life that seemed to drive us if we chose to let it. When we arrived for our son’s bar mitzvah, we felt that familiar feeling of, “we are HOME now” once again. That was really our last chance to listen… and we did. That’s why we live in Israel now.
2. Perceptions of violence before we moved.
We knew of just about every event that was reported before we moved to Israel. The Media Conglomerates seemed to just pump out major news events everyday of the week that somehow involved Israel. Now, you have to remember that the land of Israel is about the size of New Jersey, most likely has fewer natural resources, and before its United Nations declared statehood in 1948, was considered an arid desert in the south and a swamp in the north. This was a place that did not resemble the so called ‘milk and honey’ of the Bible. The modern day Israel has been built to be what it is today by the sweat and blood of Jews, all of which seemed to be listening to that inner voice. All this thought is relevant because this is the background noise with regards to the violence in the Middle East. I believe that what happens in Israel is relevant to the rest of the world and what happens outside of Israel. That is the only thing that makes any sense, considering the imbalance of the evening news’s story telling. The story isn’t the violence. There is violence everywhere in the world. The story is deeper then that.
3. Have our perceptions of violence changed since we got to Israel.
Well, our perceptions have changed. We don’t watch the Israeli news because it is still hard to understand, so we rely on the internet and what we see happening around us. The internet is the same as it was in the States so I just check in occasionally. As far as what is happening around us goes… it is beautiful here. The communities are very nice and the people are even nicer, once you get past the gruff exteriors. We have made friends that will last a life time, regardless of where we live. There isn’t any violence that we can see here. We read about Sederot and the missile’s that daily land on it and just hope and pray for some sanity in the region. Sederot is only about 2 hours away from us and we live in the North so it is really a small country if you know what I mean. All in all, we feel a lot safer here from the violence in the world. The violence here is just magnified to the outside world for what ever reason. The Israeli security is the best in the world and a model for any other nation seeking security. We did arrive right before the 2nd Lebanon war and this seemed to temper us a bit. We had to spend some time in the bomb shelters and in the end, just went on with our lives.
4. How do we feel that peace can be achieved in the region?
Well, I have often wondered about this same thing. Is there an answer to that one? First of all, I think we need to look at the concept of peace. There are lots of levels of peace. Peace can be when we wake up in the morning before everyone else and watch the world around us wake up. Peace can be satisfaction of a completed transaction or a job well done. Peace can even be a ‘temporary’ cease fire. The word peace can be translated into so many different ideas that it really isn’t just one word. For instance, in the Arabic language and culture, the word peace means something closer to justice then to the western idea of what peace means, which seems to be something like a hot cup of coffee in a quite corner of the local Starbucks. So, when the politicians or news reporters are using the word peace, which is it? I think that this should really be the question to ask. What is peace? Before we all agree on what peace is, how can we even dream of getting it?
There is a lot more here and I don’t know if I can really even touch the surface of this. Maybe each of us needs to ask ourselves, “what is peace for me?” and then ask, “what is peace for them?” and only then ask, “what is peace for us?” even then, I think we will get too many answers to really do anything with them. In the end, it all seems to be up to G*D, if you believe in that sort of thing. On the other hand, if we all asked the same questions, maybe that would be the incentive to really come together! And then again, maybe that is what G*D is really all about anyways; coming together.
So, how do we bring peace to the region? I think that right after we ask ourselves the questions stated above, we should ponder the idea… why am I here, is there a god, what is the purpose of it all, and last but not least… who am I?
Hope this helped,
Shalom from the Holy Land,