What Being Pro-Israel Means To Me
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Politics and Activism

What Being Pro-Israel Means To Me

Isn't it time we all just sat together and ate some hummus?

What Being Pro-Israel Means To Me
Hannah Doban

I've thought long and hard about this topic.

In fact, the other day I spent a whole 12 straight hours thinking about it. On board my return flight home to the U.S. from Israel, besides beating my previous high score in Fruit Ninja and questioning the validity of my omelette meal, I thought long and hard about the "question" of Israel, and and my stance on the Middle East as a Jew. It really isn't a question to me anymore.

I am Pro Israel. But let me tell you what that means to me.

Being Pro Israel does not mean I am Anti Palestinian.

It does not mean I am Anti Peace.

It does not mean I am Anti Two-State solution. In fact, I think theoretically a Two-State Solution would be great. Realistically, however, I think it is almost impossible.

Being Pro Israel --to me-- means that when I hear of a gun shooting or bombing in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, I immediately think of my dear friends that I know living in Israel.

I am Pro Israel because I believe there should be a nation state that is also a Jewish state. There are approximately 11 Muslim nations in the world and there is barely 1 Jewish state. Israel is surrounded by these Muslim nations. This is not an opinion, this is a fact.

To those who villainize Israel or who don't support Israel, I want you to understand where I'm coming from. I want you to understand that I need a Jewish state. I need a country to call home because I don't always feel safe in America saying I'm Jewish. I need an Eretz Yisrael, a place to look to, a place I know I am always welcomed. I need a land where I am comfortable, where I am not afraid of persecution.

Jews are not the first, nor will we be the last, to need a territory to fulfill those needs. In an ideal world, a land such as the one described above should not exist. Because in an ideal world, people are comfortable where they are, amongst people of different racial, religious, ethnic, and gender backgrounds. In an ideal world, I don't need a "homeland" 12 hours away, because I'm comfortable with the one I'm currently in. We don't live in an ideal world.

Prior to my trip to Israel, I refused to take a stance on politics in the Middle East. Frankly, I did not know enough information (I still don't, and unless you live in the Middle East or have a stake in Israeli or Palestinian politics, you won't ever have enough information). I also did want to take an opinion because I didn't want to upset anyone. I didn't, and still don't, know the right, politically correct jargon to use. I don't know the correct terms for occupied land, and don't have a full grasp on what land belongs to who and who has control over what. I am not educated enough in Middle Eastern politics. What I do know, however, are the people.

I've had the honor of meeting numerous IDF (Israeli Defense Force) soldiers, a handful of the 1000s of men and women, like the 1000s of men and women in the U.S., who put their life in danger to defend the country they believe in. They are some of the nicest, most generous, humble, and funny people I've ever met.

Israelis are villified in the U.S and globally because of how they react to violent situations. The thing is, how would you react if your villages were bombed and citizens gunned down outside random cafes? The U.S. has reacted to violence in the U.S. in the exact same way--with violence (Literally every war America has fought in, including, oh, the past 10 years of unnecessary violence). It is human nature to react to violence with violence.

Unfortunately, I have not met soldiers from the Palestinian side. This is just a sad consequence; it is not as easy to meet Palestinian soldiers. But I want to though. I know that Israel doesn't do everything right. For example, I think it is absurd that they do not take in Syrian refugees, when the two nations border each other. Did you know that Israel treats Syrian refugees and then releases them back into war-torn Syria, under the cover of darkness? That's pretty fucked up.

I refuse to see things in binary, simple-cut, black and white terms. To say one is Pro Israel or Pro Palestine or Pro Two-State is ignoring the 200++++ years of moral and geographical shades of grey. I am Pro Israel, but I don't like the confines that term puts on my moral, political, and cultural beliefs.

While in a hotel in Jerusalem, I had the pleasure of meeting, a Palestinian security guard and an Israeli bellhop. They told me they were good friends. The Palestinian guard played for me his top 5 favorite songs in Israel and told me all about his childhood. He was warm, friendly, and funny. The Israeli bellhop asked me what some of my favorite Middle Eastern foods were and I told them Israeli salad. The Palestinian man scoffed and said, "Oh no, that's not Israeli. That's ours!" He laughed and the two friends jokingly started debating with each other over what Middle Eastern cuisine is attributed to which ethnicity. Really, I thought, is this what the conflict has come to? Who has the "rights" to sliced cucumbers and tomatoes?

Truthfully, I think the phrases Pro Israel and Pro Palestine should be abolished. They do nothing but divide people and make peace even more unlikely. There is nothing simple about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The history, international influences, and the phrases we use to talk about are beyond convoluted and messy. I know saying I am Pro Israel is inviting backlash, debate, arguments, and hate. But as a Jew, I need Israel. Maybe that looks like a Two State Solution--something most Israelis are in favor of. Maybe it means the opposite. Maybe it means something different altogether. I am allowed to go to Jewish summer camp, eat challah on the streets, and have Yom Kippur off from school due, in part, to the foundation of Israel. Israel is part of my heritage, my identity.

Visit Israel Video Network if you want a more legit list of reason why Israel has the right to exist,

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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