Last night I had the privilege of attending a Jewish National Fund Donor dinner, honouring supporters of Israel from around the Coachella Valley. It was a phenomenal event that highlighted the immense support (both emotional and financial) that Israel has from Jews all over the United States, and as an Israeli American I was filled with an overwhelming sense of pride and happiness. After a phenomenal dinner of sea bass and salad as beautiful as a piece of art garnished with fruits and candied walnuts, we heard from a wonderful speaker who used appropriate anecdotal humour to outline Israel’s current dangers, and to highlight the intense effort we all need to make to ensure the survival and security of the Jewish state and homeland. Needless to say it is no small feat to keep Israel safe, prosperous, and secure.
After the keynote speaker was finished I found myself asking “what am I doing to ensure the survival and security of Israel?” Sure, I made Aliyah and lived in Israel for many years, but is that enough? As Stephane and I ready ourselves for graduate school in the United States I find myself wondering what I can do while I’m so far away from my homeland.
Israel Advocacy and Public Diplomacy (Hasbra)
There is no question that Israel, excuse the bluntness, bites the big one in terms of the PR war, and her enemies are extremely skilled at successfully portraying themselves as blameless “victims” in the media. The problem is that most of the world eats up their deceptive advocacy, and the majority of Palestine’s most ardent supporters have never even stepped foot in the Middle East region, let alone in Israel or the Palestinian territories. Well, lucky for me, I’ve had the honour of not only living in Israel proper for 5 years, but I also lived in Palestinian East Jerusalem, and have spent a significant amount of time exploring and traveling throughout the West Bank and Palestinian territories. I was too old to to join the army when I received my citizenship, but if I can help Israel fight her PR war, then I can rest easy knowing that I’m giving a great service to the Jewish state. I have already had the pleasure of speaking at various Hadassah events about my time in Israel, living through two wars with Gaza and the recent wave of Palestinian terror, and hope to continue educating people about the true nature of Israel and her incredible citizens. I hope to also tackle advocacy against the BDS movement and anti-semitism that is running rampant on university campuses, and continue to lobby for support from Jews living in the diaspora. Fighting for Israel, whether on the front lines, or on the technological front, is no easy task, but it is the most rewarding, important work in the world.
Commitment to a Jewish life
Israel is facing a threat potentially more detrimental than the PR war and terrorism combined…Assimilation. Jews in the diaspora are losing their “Judaism” at alarming rates, especially in the newer generations, and my unwavering commitment to leading a Jewish life is yet another battle I can help fight for the Jewish state, and the survival of the Jewish people. Aside from the fact that I genuinely love being Jewish and love living a Jewish life, I understand now more than ever the importance of passing that same love down to my children and children’s children. We have thousands of years of rich, beautiful history that is facing extinction because we, as a people, are allowing assimilation by simply not being active in our own Jewish communities. Synagogues are alienating young people who can’t pay thousands of dollars a year in membership fees (something that Jews in my own desert community are battling on behalf of the younger generations), youth groups are being cut and downsized because of a lack of interest, and Jewish education for younger children is not being emphasized. As my generation becomes parents I hope they act in a way similar to that of my own parents. Judaism was always emphasized, a Jewish education (well, really education in general) was placed in the highest importance, and even though, at the time, I might have fought it because I didn’t think it was “cool” or fun, my parents never wavered. Today, I see parents wanting to be friends more than role models, and conceding to their children’s wishes of not wanting a Jewish education because it isn’t fun. That is perhaps the biggest crime facing our community, because they are robbing their children of a chance to experience the joys of Jewish life. Now, perhaps after their exposure they decide Jewish life isn’t for them. That is completely respectable, but at 10, 11, 12 they don’t have the information to make such a decision. Marrying Jewish, raising children in a Jewish home, passing down thousands of years of traditions… These are all things that will help strengthen us as a people, and ensure our continued success and survival, and the survival of the Jewish state.
I understand that as an American you can’t vote simply on the issue of “Israel”. There are many important issues facing our great country that need to be taken into consideration: economy, immigration, social issues, and more. However, the last 8 years have seen one of the worst presidencies, in my opinion, for both American and Israel, and the number of Jews who supported and continue to support the Obama administration is shameful. I implore every member of the Jewish community to take Israel into consideration when voting for both their federal and state constituents, because without America’s support, Israel would have a very difficult time existing in a world surrounded by fanaticism and a fundamental ideology that is threatening a third world war. Research constituents…contact your local AIPAC chapters to gain information on where each candidate stands… be open to voting outside of your party. Listen to the pro Israel lobbies. It’s time we stop thinking along strict Democrat/Republican lines, and start voting for candidates that will keep America strong and Israel safe. Israel is a strong, little country, but she needs all the help she can get. It’s going to be quite a few years until I try my hand at a senate bid, so until then let’s try to get the best people possible in office for both America and Israel 🙂
Well that’s about all for now. I will end by asking the world to say a prayer for the victims of yesterday’s terror attack near Jerusalem that left an 11 month old baby in serious condition and without a leg, and 10 others injured, and two other attacks leaving 3 soldiers injured who were struck with a car near a border checkpoint, and 2 Israelis in Modi’in who were stabbed by a Palestinian worker inside of Israel proper. We wish for a quick and speedy recovery for all of these beautiful souls inflicted by the most bitter of terrorist acts.
I miss you everyday, friend, and love you forever and always.
Until we meet again <3,