Do you know how to explain “the situation” in Israel if you had to?
If so, good for you. I mean it. I couldn’t – up until very recently.
Maybe you’re a keen Israel advocate, but I never have been. I mean, I liked Israel, I thought in some vague and Biblically-informed way that we had a right and indeed a halachic obligation to be here. But if you’d asked me about specifics, I would have been mighty short on details.
Which was why I was surprised when a friend sent me a link the other day to a typical article, at the BBC website, with the headline, “Israel postpones vote on new Jerusalem settlement homes.” And she asked for my “take” on the situation.
The surprising part – to me, at least – is that I actually DO have a “take” now. That’s strange because I’m not a “politics” person. Never have been. I avoid news if I can help it at all, and perhaps articles like this, shallow and lazy, are one reason why. But when I sat down to share my views, I realized I needed to share a whole lot more by way of background.
So I started to type, and this is what I got…
The Truth About Israel and the Middle East
I actually thought the situation in the Middle East would all become a whole lot clearer “on the ground,” you know; once we lived in Israel it would all make sense. I laugh now at how naïve that belief was.
Still, at least I do know some things, and I do have a “take,” for what it’s worth.
First of all…
Nobody wants to build where anyone lives, but it's a small country and we're all very close together. As Harper said when he was here, it is surprising (and probably feels very wrong) that Ramallah, capital of the Palestinian Authority (PA) region, is less than half an hour from Jerusalem. So things get a little squishy sometimes.
Second of all…
None of this has anything to do with Arabs who live in the non-disputed borders of Israel, squishy as it is. They are full Israeli citizens and enjoy – on paper and in many cases in reality, though I will admit that the reality isn’t 100% where our dreams are – full rights and privileges of citizenship, including health care and the right to celebrate the end of Ramadan in front of me in line at McDonald’s in our local mall so we have to wander around looking for seats and muttering, “what kind of Jewish country is this…” only because we are so obviously in the minority here in the North.
That’s not what the media mean when they say “Palestinians.” What they mean are the cousins of those Arab Israelis who live under the authority of the PA, formerly known as the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the terrorist organization.
For a while, they were considered “peace partners”