Grappling with Reality in Israel
I would have beeped, but my son was almost sleeping and the last thing I wanted to do was interfere. There I was, 25 minutes in stand-still traffic on Bialik Street.
A twenty-something-year-old walked by with a huge Israeli flag in his hand.
“Go’al nefesh” a woman yelled in Hebrew. “You leftists are destroying this country.”
“I went to the army and sacrificed everything for this country. What have you done?” he yelled back.
Stuck in traffic, with a Spotify playlist of baby songs in the backroad, I was left with nowhere to go. Just me and my thoughts alone in the car. A deep feeling of helplessness set in.
I thought about what happened in Huwara, and my heart screamed, not in my name.
Later that night in a Whatsapp group with friends in New York, they asked me what’s going on in Israel.
“Is it as bad as it sounds? Will there be a civil war?”
“I don’t know” I answered. “It’s getting ugly.”
“We know someone who was arrested because he took a video of the police during the protests. It’s like China.” a friend responds.
“It’s pretty insane that this could actually happen,”
“Does anyone there actually support the changes?” another friend asks.
I think for a moment. “I don’t know anyone who supports it. Most people I know are outraged. And worried. I know a few people who don’t seem to be concerned about the changes, but I wouldn’t say support it.
“But will the protests do anything?” someone else asks.
“I don’t know.” I respond.
And then came Shabbat dinner.
A younger cousin, let’s call him Tom, is trying to understand what’s going on. “They have a majority, so what’s so bad about these changes? Is it actually illegal?”
“Everyone is getting worked up over nothing, don’t believe anything these people say” Tom’s brother responds.
“They are burning the country down! You want to be apathetic today, fine. But if they decide that women need to ride in the back of the bus after they pass this, don’t cry that they don’t have the power to do this. Because they will. And that will be the least of our problems.” yelled another cousin.
The discussion continued. 12 people, 12 different options.
“But what’s actually going to happen? Will my wife and kids have trouble moving to this country if this passes?” Tom asks.
Tom’s wife isn’t Jewish.
“Yes”, I reply. “The government will have the power to decide that they can’t move here with you. And there won’t be anything anyone can do. They will have the final say.”
Reality starts to sink in.
Photos by Unsplash.
One thought on “Grappling with Reality in Israel”
I’ve been having similiar conversations. Thank for sharing.