Monday, April 23, 2007

48 Hours Off

I spend much of my time involved in 'hasbara', that ubiquitous term for explaining Israel's position to the world, or at least to the people in the room with me at the time. As part of debates and appearances it is necessary and also correct to feel and express understanding for the other side, for their narrative, for their aspirations and grievances.

Well, guys, I'm taking 48 hours off from political correctness and empathy.

Today, Memorial Day for the Fallen, in Wars and Terror Acts, I am wallowing in the pain of my people and only my people. I wept through the 2 minute siren this morning through eyes still puffy from last night's tears, a result of long hours spent in front of the television watching shows about soldiers who were killed last summer in Lebanon. Heroes, every one. They lived for their nation, who I am blessed to be a part of. They sacrificed everything to protect our homeland from those who would throw us into the sea and finish what Hitler began. Those killed by terrorists died because they had the temerity to live in Israel and the nerve to be on a bus or drinking coffee when a hate filled, deranged monster imposed his death cult wishes on those who love life.

My nation is a "Light Unto the Nations". Others, and we know who they are, are a "Blight Unto the Nations". What a difference a letter makes.

Those who died did so so that the rest of us might live. And so we will continue to do so, to build and create and laugh. And grieve for those who are no more with those for whom every day is memorial day.

Tomorrow is Independence Day. The juxtaposition of these 2 days is brilliant, we are not independent only by the grace of G-d but by the sacrifices of so many of His people. One does not exist without the other. Grief tinged with pride, joy muted by sorrow.

I live in Gush Etzion, where the battle that was lost in 1948 saved Jerusalem from falling entirely to the enemy and gave the country this date as a memorial day, that's how important the fight here was to the fledgling state. I am overwhelmed by gratitude that I was born to the Jewish people in a time when we came home, and that I am privileged to be a part of the renewal of life in these ancient hills where it all began.

If I cut myself tomorrow I daresay I will bleed blue and white. To those who bled red and died as a result, I have no words, other than a pathetic and heartfelt thank you. For everything. It was not in vain.

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