Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Thought on Aliyah and Mint Tea

As my days here are dwindling, well, not dwindling quite yet, but seriously decreasing, I am plagued by a number of thoughts. These include, whether Nasralla is indeed capable of launching rockets further than Haifa ( http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3281439,00.html), how else I can make an impact on Israel, and how I can transport falafel back to the United States, listed in order of increasing importance.

Yesterday, I bought some Zionist propaganda posters from the 1950s. I really like propoganda, and I have no clue why. I have a lot of it in my room in college. Now I have some Hebrew ones to add. Yesterday, also, when I was walking home from work, I think I saw a K-9 training unit, like the one whose officers we met a couple weeks ago. They were all in plain clothes though, but they had maybe 10-15 German Shepherds near the mall that were severly muzzled and they were just standing around with them near a car. Some children came up to pet them. Only in Israel, only in Israel.


Later in the night, we met up with Talia, who is living in her brother's apartment in Tel Aviv this week, so she doesn't have to commute from Kfar Saba. We were talking about the north, and I wish I could go up to the North to see what is going on. I feel like I always see things in the media, but not ever live. Obviously, you are not big fans of this. But I feel like I'm not doing anything again, just taking, taking, taking from Israel. Giving blood made me feel better, but not enough. I suspect the only thing that will make me feel like I'm contributing will be participating in a paratrooper raid of Bing Jbeil; but for now, I will have to find some way to help out. I'm thinking of doing Table to Table, http://www.tabletotable.org.il/?gclid=CPalwLPrroYCFRJ-Vgod0ECnAg , which drops off food at certain points in Tel Aviv to take to the north. Maybe I can buy some toys for children and drop it off, along with an encouraging note. I know if I were in a shelter right now I would want some warm falafel and a note from someone saying "you are awesome! Keep defending the homefront! More falafel to come later!"

So I will get back to you. But I want to do something big. As I mentioned before, I will also volunteer with the army, to provide any moral support that the soldiers might need.

Other conclusions I've come to: I don't know Israel nearly enough, and I think I am getting the wrong perspective of Israel. I live in the biggest city; that would be like finding out the US by living only in Manhattan. I really think that skews my vision. Sometimes I'll get glimpses of palms or of the beach, and I'll remember how I felt about Israel when I was here the last two times. A feeling of complete love, of peace, a feeling of belonging, such a strong and deep feeling that I can't even explain it. It's the same feeling I get whenever I see Israeli flags in America (although probably not anymore, since we've had an overkill of those since the war started). It's how I think Zionists feel about Israel, when they see past its problems. It is the pure Israel that gets blocked out for me by the everyday noise of just going to work, being treated rudely at the grocery store, not knowing enough Hebrew, feeling lost, feeling out of place. Although I've been feeling less of that lately, and there are some moments when I just think I fit in. The first month was the hardest, and the second month is easier. And the third and fourth would be too, if I were here for them.

The more I think about aliyah, the more strange it seems to me; leaving America for a totally different country. It seems really crazy. And the more I think about the real process, the more distant the idealism that I felt before fades away: getting used to the tax system, never having the ability to even remotely influence or experience the weight that is American policy, feeling trapped by the glass ceiling that is Israel's promotion system, feeling trapped by the smallness of the country and not enough opportunities to advance. etc. But then I think about the things I am giving up: the ability to say to people who have opinions about Israel "i am here. you have no right to say anything, because you are not voting. I am making a statement by living here.", the ability to contribute and volunteer all I want, I guess those are the most important things that bother me about not living in Israel. The fact that, once I leave, I will not be able to say anything for or against it, because I have no right to. Just like right now, American Jews, British Jews, etc, that have opinions about the war sound silly to me because they are not here. They cannot know how they would act. This is why I can't really ridicule yerida (the opposite of aliyah, immigration outside of Israel,) because I don't know if I would do the same. I get very nervous, and I don't think I could keep up the same level of pressure. I just can't say. I will also miss the food. Oh, how I will miss the food. I can tell you exactly what I will miss: Atala hummus, coke in glass bottles, mint in my tea and lemonade, salad at every meal, including breakfast, and falafel. Ahhh.


That's it for now.
I will write more about work later (maybe.)

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