Friday, January 25, 2008

My Homeland

By Hannah Lupien,
Birthright participant, January 2008

From the time we got off of the plane it has been drilled into our heads that this is the Promised Land. This is our home and the home for Jews everywhere. But I don’t speak Hebrew, I don’t cover my knees in public, and I don’t agree with many of the actions of the government. I have never been persecuted for my religion, and while I feel for those who have, I doubt I will ever be in that situation. So remind me again why this is my home?

The piece of this puzzle that most bothers me is the attitude of many Jewish Israelis towards Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinians. The Palestinians of Jerusalem are not citizens of their native land. Muslims are not required to serve in the army, and many are not even allowed to serve when they request to. The general feeling I get is that these people are treated as an undeserving, highly suspect people. In my opinion that is both unfair and unjust.

At this point I ask myself again: Why should this land called Israel be so important to me? The answer is difficult, in that it is by no means cut-and-dry. Jewish tradition teaches us to question authority and the status quo, which is especially important when it comes to the direction of our inherited homeland. At the same time that this homeland treats Jews better than other groups living here, it serves an important place in the heart of Jews around the world. Israel has inherent value as the only country where we are the majority because it gives us a place to feel “normal,” if that is possible.

I question and protest again my American government and the problems I see in the United States, but at the same time I love the country in which I have lived my entire life. In the same way Israel is my home precisely because I both love and hate this land that I have so newly met.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Muslims are not required to serve in the army, and many are not even allowed to serve when they request to."

I don't think that not requiring Muslims to serve in the IDF is a problem-for many it would be a conflict of interest. How many Muslims are requesting to join the army anyway? Where did you hear that many aren't allowed to when they request it? I only know that they are excluded from certain elite units, not flat-out.