The Jewish People’s best friend

The political climate of the Middle East is changing so quickly these days that it’s hard to know what to expect. Don’t even begin to conjecture about whether or not the powers that be (or become) in Egypt will or won’t honor the (cold) peace treaty with Israel… how many protesters/citizens are going to be killed in Libya and Iran before the rest of the world takes action against the regimes… and what all the upheaval will mean for Israel and the Jewish people – if you’re right one day, then you’re wrong the next. Or, maybe not, because as Honest Reporting explains – some things never change:

Will the revolutions sweeping the Arab world signal the precursor to a reassessment of how Israel is treated by the media, non-governmental organizations, UN bodies and others? We are under no illusions. Recent events in the Mideast have exposed the hypocrisy and double standards applied to Israel.

While we may be scratching our heads over the double standards applied to this small country whose “few square kilometers, … is equivalent to less than one seven-hundredth of the Arab world”, I think the most mind-boggling of all is the fact that Israel’s leaders don’t get it , either. The Israel Project brings this to the forefront in its recent article, Netanyahu: Israel Should not Push for New Settlement Construction:

The fact is that there is a new reality in the world…Israel needs to make policies that fit with that reality,….

[Deputy Prime Minister Dan] Meridor was discussing Netanyau’s [sic] comments on settlements, saying that if Israel can create policies that fit with the world’s expectations, it will be better able implement practical solutions.

“We have to find a solution to the conflict,” he added.

The article  continues:

Israel’s construction policies in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, which have been controlled by Israel since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, are cited as the reason the Palestinian Authority (PA) left the peace talks in September 2010.

Personally, I think that after all these years and failed attempts at placating everyone, including destroying Gush Katif which left thousands of Jewish citizens homeless and Hamas in control of the area, and the recent construction freeze (which included porches and fences added to existing homes) in Yehuda and Shomron (Judea and Samaria), if Netanyahu actually believes there’s anything the Jewish people can do, short of self-destructing, that will make anyone happy, he’s been smoking something stronger than tobacco. And, as the turmoil in Egypt teaches us, there are no guarantees that peace treaties in the Middle East will be upheld by successive governments (but you can be sure that they will not give us back our pieces of land).

Yup, the more things change, the more they stay the same. So, why fret?  It’s much better to concentrate on the pleasant aspects of life in Israel.

One of the nicest surprises that we had shortly after making aliyah was viewing the Jerusalem March, an annual parade which, this past year, marched along Rechov Yaffo, during one of the warm and beautiful  intermediary days of Sukkot.

Invitation for Public to Eat in Private Sukkah

Sukkot Hospitality Israeli Style. Photo courtesy of my daughter, Tova Lipson.

In Israel, Sukkot is everywhere – not just on your balcony, or behind the local kosher restaurant that puts up a booth for its patrons. Most of the country is on vacation during the holiday, sukkahs are found everywhere for everyone’s eating convenience, and family-oriented activities abound. We were on our way to a  fair at the Mamilla Mall not far from the Kotel (Western Wall) when the bus we were on got caught in the jam of detoured parade traffic. Since we were going nowhere slowly, we got off the bus and started walking to our destination, which took us along the parade route.  We never made it to the Mall  as we we were so taken by the some of the marchers in the parade. It wasn’t the people from one of the health funds who were walking or the employees of Discount Bank wearing green t-shirts that thrilled us; it was the multitudes of people from numerous countries who were waving their national flags and carrying their organizations’ banners while marching in support of Israel which astonished and delighted us.

Jerusalem March

Marchers Waving their Country flags. Photo courtesy of my daughter, Tova Lipson.

There were people from countries which we wouldn’t have expected to see represented, including Germany, Austria, Brazil, Japan, Korea, Croatia, Norway and others. With international sentiment toward Israel being what it is, it was heartwarming to know that the country has so many well-wishers.

One interesting contingent of marchers was blowing very long, curvy shofars to show their solidarity with us, not the kind I usually see blown in the synagogue. At the same time as we were listening to the trumpeting of the shofars, we found ourselves next to a French-Jewish bookstore. Andy speaks French, so we went in.  Well, what do you know? The shopkeeper had the same long, curvy shofars in his store! He and Andy each took a shofar and went outside to blow along with the marchers.

Jerusalem March - Sukkot 2010

Blowing the Shofar at the Jerusalem March in Solidarity with Israel and the Jewish People. Photo courtesy of my daughter, Tova Lipson.

I’m sure that if we had gotten to the fair we would have had an enjoyable afternoon, but I’m glad we didn’t. The parade gives me something positive to hang on to – when all the world seems poised against the Jewish  people and the Jewish State, I remember that we have friends in many places.

And, most importantly, I remember that the Master of the Universe is our Best Friend of all.

No matter what the political climate, in Israel it’s a nice day.



One response to “The Jewish People’s best friend

  1. Beautiful Story, Caryn – I felt I was there with you. And Tova’s photos add so much to the telling.


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