Radi Detey – that’s the answer you’d get, if you asked a Russian immigrant “Why did you emigrate to Israel?” That first generation of Soviet immigrants that left its country, homeland, and home of its fathers, and moved to Israel (generally with family, grandmother, piano and dog. Actually with me it was a piano and a violin, two grandmothers and a grandfather), did so out of Zionist considerations but mainly “Radi Detey”. For the sake of the children. For the possibility that they might have a future, education, a good life. Life.
For exactly the same reasons there were those who emigrated to Germany, South Africa, Australia, and of course to North America. My father, who ever since he was a student had been a wildly passionate Zionist, left a high-ranking post in the defence industry in order to receive an exit visa from the USSR. For several years he was forced to make do with a job running the National Ballet and Opera theater, God forbid.
For him making Aliya was an old dream and a new adventure. A familiar stance.
My mother, who to this day has always shied away from politics, and is a firm believer that man is born good, was driven by her terrible anxiety for her two children, my sister and me, after Chernobyl.
Emigration in the face of mortal danger is also no great innovation in the history of the Jews.
Our grandparents came with us, because separation was inconceivable.
After my first visit to the USA at age 16, in a somewhat hesitant voice my father asked if I regretted that we had come to Israel of all places (after all I had seen in the US)? I said no. And I meant it. This is my place. This is my home. This is my language. In the deepest sense of the word.
24 years have passed since our Aliyah.
We are no longer counting the wars, the sirens, and the campaigns in Gaza.
But today I am a father. Father to Danielle. A wonderful baby-girl, nearly 3,the joy of my life. Yet this morning began with our big hug, only this time – to the tune of sirens and Iron Dome explosions.
It is her first war; her second week of Operation Protective Edge sirens and explosions.
And this is the first time I find myself asking myself, what should I be doing Radi Detey?
What should I be doing for the sake of my children?
What should I be doing to ensure my daughter has a sane future, education, a good life. Life?
This beautiful and thoughtful piece was written in 2006, during the 2nd Lebanon War. Once again our Israeli Government has decided to put troops on the ground, this time in Gaza once more. Sara Eisen’s words still ring true and current.
A society with a healthy dose of fear gives me faith. And a home.
A well-known editor of a widely read Jewish American weekly wrote recently of his deep fear that Israel, with its many hostile and tacit enemies, may be (God forbid, he added) on its way out. The truth is that there is no way to make someone feel better about a qualm like that. It is a logical fear – – although logic, for better and worse, has never been the stuff of Jewish, and especially not Israeli, survival.
The other truth is that scary columns are useful, even when they contain no real operative suggestions, because anxiety often – or hopefully – prompts communal discourse, action, and change. My (quasi-logical) response to him, in Jewish fashion, is a problem, and a Talmudic reinterpretation of Churchill:
Prove: Fear is fine (just not by itself.)
Wives and mothers of conscripted Israeli soldiers, and not only the citizens of Gaza and Lebanon, are the people most afraid of Israeli soldiers showing up at their doorsteps.
Children with Sick Hearts Abroad, Resources They Need in Israel
Right this moment, thousands of infants and children across the world are suffering from heart disease. Some of these children have access to the treatment that can help them. Unfortunately, many children do not. Many of these children suffer from congenital heart disease, which is responsible for more deaths in the first year of life than any other birth defects.
A song exploring concepts of “home”, and the emotional impact of the Gaza disengagement.
(Originally published in Ten Minutes of Torah and Galilee Diary)
Redemption of captives comes before other forms of tzedakah… and one who ignores the plight of the captive violates the commandment, “Do not stand idly by the blood of your fellow.” [Leviticus 19:16]. But we must not redeem the captive for an exorbitant price, in order not to distort the system and encourage our enemies to pursue us to capture us (to hold for ransom)…
-Maimonides (Rambam), Mishneh Torah, Laws of Gifts to the Poor 8:10-12
The quiet little rural community of Hila, about 30 minutes northwest of Shorashim, has become over the past five years, and especially over the past 24 hours, a focus of the entire nation’s attention. Five years ago a kid from Hila doing his army service on the Gaza border, Gilad Shalit, was captured by Hamas forces and secreted somewhere in Gaza. For five years the entire country has been absorbed in the personal drama of the Shalit family and the fate of Gilad. Today he was released in exchange for around 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel, including a number who were involved in major terror attacks.
Delivered by Professor Michael Walzer at the Global Jewish Forum – a Makōm seminar for the Jewish Agency Board of Governors, Jerusalem, June 2011/Sivan 5771
Michael Walzer is Professor Emeritus at the School of Social Science of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, the editor of Dissent magazine, author and editor of more than twenty books, including Just and Unjust Wars, The Company of Critics and the Jewish Political Tradition.
Dear Mr. Waters,
I was deeply disappointed to learn that you have decided to build a wall between yourself and your Israeli fans. We love you here in Israel. Surely, you must know that from the warm reception you received when you performed here five years ago at the Jewish-Arab village of Neve Shalom.
What you may not realize is that most Israelis believe in a two-state solution. But this vision is not as easy to turn into a reality as you may think. Instead of recognizing the situation’s complexity, you have joined the campaign to boycott Israel, appointing yourself as a judge in a conflict between Middle Eastern tribes. (How British of you!)
At Sinai, the Torah was handed down with its moral code, system of social justice and protections for minorities, and expressing the value of peace. A people was forged into a nation with the promise of a land. Israel was the heart of Jewish identity when the Children of Israel stood at Sinai.
It was at the heart of Jewish identity at the First Zionist Conference and remains at the heart of Jewish identity today. That is why I tolerate no denials of Israel as the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people. I attack the suggestion that Zionism is racist or that a Jewish state merits that malicious canard.
I advocate for Israel publicly and privately without fear. It is “my state” and advocacy is just one of the many ways in which I contribute to its well-being.
1st September, 2010. This morning, one of our friends here in Neve Daniel sent me this e-mail:
Hi – I am sitting here crying because one of the women murdered tonight was my son’s kindergarten teacher. Yehuda is six and is mentally retarded – his teachers are our world because they bring him such joy when the world is such an overwhelming and confusing place. Cochava was an angel, and we were with her an hour before she died – she was on her way home from the gan welcome back orientation when she was murdered.
“Let me get this straight: Israel just killed humanitarian workers in international waters, and the author has the nerve to call that provocation? Unbelievable.”
So writes one individual in response to one of the many journalistic attempts to defend Israel’s position in the recent Gaza flotilla affair.
Let’s be clear: we are losing the PR battle. Badly. Read the international press, read the talkbacks all over the Internet, witness the worldwide demonstrations, listen to international government statements, watch the TV coverage. It all points in one clear direction: Israel is either becoming, or has already become, morally bankrupt.