Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On the war and Israel - Personal reflections

Renaya Anbar..
Op-Ed Contributor/JPost..
21 November '12..

Walking down the street, I see news reporters interviewing civilians on their experiences and reactions to the sound of sirens and the rockets flying above their heads. I think about my own emotions, about what I might say if one them asked me for an interview.

“Here we have Renaya Anbar, a new immigrant from Chicago – Renaya, how do you feel about the current situation in Israel?” “Well, that’s a pretty broad question, but in short I feel that it’s unfortunate and frightening. And yet, my entire perspective on moving here has changed overnight.”

“How so? Do you regret your decision to move here?” “On the contrary. Whatever fragments of Zionist values I have acquired throughout my life have suddenly become my central purpose for staying here. I never truly understood my reasons were for moving here. I constantly fought with myself and reminisced about the comforts of ‘home,’ and the temptation to move back and away from this country of constant struggle was always in a corner of my mind, penetrating my thoughts.

Overnight, the thought of being anywhere but here has become completely inconceivable. Whatever doubts I had about creating my life here, with all its challenges and frustrations, seem meaningless now.”

“Well said, thank you, Renaya. Another siren beginning just now over Tel Aviv!”

I AM a Jewish person and I am choosing to live in Israel. I do not believe that the imminent danger we face in this current struggle against Hamas will suddenly disappear from my life if I were to live in a far-away land. The danger we face here is insignificant compared to the danger of a world without the existence of Israel and the Jewish people that inhabit it.

We cannot escape the fact that Jews have more than a right to exist on this earth, we have an obligation to do so – and to the highest of human standards. Up until four days ago, I was completely ignorant of the existence of a world where one’s safety is threatened. No matter how many stories you hear about past wars, full of victories and losses, nothing can prepare you for the moment you are suddenly in the midst of incoming rocket fire.

It is in those moments that you look around and the see the world through a completely different lens.

Suddenly, you don’t question your feelings. You know you feel fear and anger and no amount of political jargon can blemish your desire to get rid of the people threatening your life and the lives of the ones you love. The world has been turned right side up and the truth becomes the focus.

I was not raised surrounded by Zionism. I was not persuaded to move to Israel. I was raised in a simple Jewish home, where I was proud of my Jewish faith, but not entirely observant of it. I enjoyed discussions about the wonders of the Torah, but never read it from cover to cover. I believed that the Jews needed to fight for their land and their lives, but never realized to what extent.

My point being, that despite the fact that I was raised Jewish, it was never my passion for Judaism and Zionism that drew me to Israel. I was not one of those very self-aware Jews that came here with a mission and felt the pride of having made their decision to leave home and create a new life in the Jewish homeland. I was a floater. And I floated to the place that I had any semblance of a connection to, if only for the simple reason that I am Jewish.

Lucky for me that I did, because here I found my pride and my place in the world. I know now that no matter how beautiful the mountains or how tranquil the ocean is on the other side of the world, I will never be able to settle for anything less than ISRAEL.


The writer is a 24 year old and a new immigrant to Israel. She is from Chicago and made Aliyah with her family under 2 years ago. She is currently a student in Tel Aviv, at Reidman College.

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1 comment:

  1. Shalom to All of Israel! Thank you, dear Renaya for sharing your beautiful thoughts! Am Yisrael Chai!