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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Know where it’s dangerous?

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Outside of Israel, that’s where.

It’s kind of interesting sitting here facing headlines like these.

(click the images to read the stories)

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LA, Frankfurt, Paris, Mississauga (Ontario, Canada). 

Most of this makes our life here in the Krayot seem calm in comparison. 

Actually, life here in the Krayot IS calm.  There is no “seem” about it.  No sirens here so far, which sets us apart probably from most Israelis at this point, both north and south.

As opposed to France.

These days, if you mention France to any Jew, anywhere, they shake their heads glumly.  “Oh, France,” they say, like it’s obvious that France would turn into the clearly dangerous place that it is for Jews today. 

Just look at the Dreyfus Affair, they say.  Over 100 years ago, it was clear that they were likely to blame Jews for all their troubles. 

But since the 1950s, a lot of Jews thought France was a pretty good place to wind up.  Especially Jews from increasingly Muslim-dominated places like Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.  With these influences, Jewish life grew and even flourished there – for a while.

These days, it’s pretty clear that this era – the golden age of Jewish life in France – is coming to a close.  Indeed, dozens of olim this week made the decision to move to Ashdod rather than stay in France. 

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Natan Sharansky, chair of the Jewish Agency (among many other things), said of their decision, "no one doubts that French Jews have a future in Israel."

Funny that such a hopeful, upbeat story has a picture of rockets instead of smiling French olim, like these guys:

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(photo credit:  Jewish Agency for Israel)

Sure, the headlines and images coming from inside Israel have been pretty dire this week.  Yes, life has been dangerous – even deadly – for many Israelis, forced to live under fire day and night.

But what most of us here in Israel see when we look out our windows is something more like this:

ordinary

Umm… nothing much.  Blue skies.  Green trees.  Not much grass at this time of year.  A pizza shop.  The sheer ordinariness of it could kill you – if it wasn’t so beautiful in contrast with what the world sees.

Is Israel a dangerous place?  Perhaps.  (Though the average life expectancy is actually higher here than in the United States and Canada.)

You know where it’s really dangerous to live?  Anywhere you can’t see your enemies until it turns out you’ve been living among them for 20, 30, 50 years or more.

And the least dangerous place in the world?  The land where Hashem promised he would guard… forever.

וְיִשְׂמְחוּ כָל-חוֹסֵי בָךְ, לְעוֹלָם יְרַנֵּנוּ--    וְתָסֵךְ עָלֵימוֹ;

So shall all those that take refuge in You rejoice,
they shall ever shout for joy,
and You will shelter them.

(Tehillim 5:12)

It’s been an interesting shift in perspective.  Outside of Israel, all I saw was the chaos, the headlines.  I never expected the ordinary, the boring, the calm… the “sheket,” as peace (usually temporary) is euphemistically described, even in the midst of turmoil.

Violence is all around, everywhere in the world.  Here in Israel, for many of us, life is actually… weirdly ordinary.

Share your stories – of weirdness or ordinariness – in the Comments section, below!

Tzivia / צִיבְיָה


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