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Monday, November 13, 2017

I am a Zionist

The following is the text of the first essay by Rivka that I read at her erev zikaron on Thursday night.  It was written in America, about a year before her aliyah.


Monday, June 20, 1988
1:41 AM

I am a Zionist.  Without Israel I am nothing.  I am a Jew and have always been proud of that fact.  That is why I am a Zionist and always will be.  I am part of a stiff-necked people, not a meek religious group, but a fiercely proud nation.  We were not always fierce but we have always been stubborn and we have refused to disappear.  We have a country now and it's ours once again but there are those who would trade it for the golden calf.  They see Israel as a place to visit, perhaps once in a lifetime, perhaps every winter.  Or if there is a war, then, suddenly, these people are willing to risk their lives, or at least their money.  They have nothing to lose, without Israel, their lives are lost and their money worthless.  The war will come, but it will arrive too late for their money, or their willingness to die.  The war will come because we have turned our backs.  We, the Jews, have closed our eyes, pretending that we just don't see how much Israel needs us there now, not to fight, but to live & work on the land we claim is ours.  But we are not ready to live and struggle in our land when our lives are so comfortable in a foreign land.  So we suppress our love for our land and our guilt at abandoning it, and call this foreign land home and ignore all the signs that reveal the truth.  We are not home, we are in the guest house and we have already overstayed our welcome.  Our house had been destroyed, but now it is restored.  Our hosts are already subtly hinting that it is time for us to go home.  Yet our hosts are not ready to forcibly show us the door, not yet.  Soon they will scorn us because we have shown that we lack pride.

We have decided that we no longer need Israel to be comnplete Jews.  We reject the idea that we are a nation even as we reject the idea that we are a religion.  We can ignore the idiosyncacies of prayers to G-d to return us to our land even though we possess the ability to return on our own.  We divide ourselves into natonalists vs. religionists even as we know that without both, which are really one, we are nothing.  And we are silent even when we know that there is a need to call out.

In just over one year I will be breaking away from everything that I have ever held to be of value.  I am leaving the country where I have been raised, a country that I love and understand.  I am leaving the people I have known since birth and the friends that I have made along the way.  And I am leaving the people who mean the world to me, my family.  I am leaving them because they won't come along, though I pray to G-d to make them change their minds.  In some ways, I have most wanted my friends to join me.  But I have only cried and prayed for my family.  I need them.

So how can I leave & why am I writing this?  Because Israel is my home, because I am a Jew, because my parents taught me to be a Jew and because if I am not proud of who I am then I am nothing.  I am not, and refuse to be, nothing.  I am a Zionist.

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