I am the author of this blog. I have decided to start this little project because I think it is important to have a platform where people can talk about things that are rarely covered in Israeli news and worldwide, the issues that help explore ourselves beyond the borders of politics and religion, the issues that concern us as individuals on a more personal and profound level. It is very easy to label someone based on skin color, country of origin and other aspects, so here on this website, I would like to focus more on what makes us similar to each other. As humans, we are all able to experience joy, happiness, and heartache, we are not strangers to the things like grief and vulnerability, even though, we express them differently. My hope is that through this blog we will learn how to embrace our similarities and be better with each other.
And here is a bit of my story:
I have been living in Israel for some time already. Despite a popular idea that people go to Israel solely to embrace their Jewishness or redeem their Jewish guilt, I decided to go to Israel because I was interested in finding myself in an environment that I wasn’t used to. Israel attracted me for its diversity and in some senses, simplicity. My Jewish identity played a small part in my decision to spend so much time in this country. What really amazed me in Israel during my first trip (back then, I didn’t intend to stay) was that there were people from all over the world; Russia, Argentina, India, Philippines, China, the UK, France and of course, the US. I wanted to liberate myself from the path that has been assigned to me and do things that I had not been aspired to do. The place, where young people gather at cities’ streets to sing Bob Dylan songs together when they are off from school or work, and older people spontaneously drive 50 miles just to see some nature reserve, spoke to me (at the time, the age factor obviously played a role).
It is truly astounding to see so many different cultures and hear so many languages spoken in a country that is so small. It was startling to see people who work for government structures dressed up informally and chit-chatting with strangers while outside of their buildings. Despite the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict, Israeli residents are incredibly chilled out and the atmosphere is very peaceful. It is amazing how Israelis open their hearts and homes to travelers or new immigrants who seek shelter.
The nature in Israel is breathtaking and can please the eye of virtually every individual. It ranges from olive and fruit trees with mountains covered with flowers in the North to a desert in the South. The Hermon mountains and surrounding areas are covered in snow during the winter season. My first half a year I was constantly grateful for the absence of drastic weather ( the exception is February) and for the fact that I no longer had to care about my apparel (everybody in Israel wears whatever) and that I could wear flip-flops in December without running the risk of getting frostbite.
Overall, I would never regret my decision because sometimes only through exploring things with no apparent plan do we really have this invaluable opportunity to grow into individuals we want to become. The challenges that I have encountered shaped me into the person I am today.
There always “cons” of course. I will throw it here, and hopefully, it will not trigger any negative thoughts but the Arab-Israeli conflict affects people. On Both sides. Period. Regardless of whether we like it or not, in an atmosphere where you see armed soldiers walking around the streets cannot have a positive impact on people’s psyche. It is not widely known or discussed that 30 percent of Israeli soldiers suffer from untreated PTSD, and, as a result of that, cannot adequately contribute to society post-service. It is important to point out that Israel has mandatory military service, therefore, this number is big, relative to the population. Another major issue is that every military conflict leads to a decline in production for the period of the conflict itself and the recovery. This topic cannot be covered by this sketch and is not intended to be in the future, but to provide a slight idea to what I am leaning to here, I would like to present a quote by John F. Kennedy on nuclear weapons from his address to the UN General Assembly “…recognizing that this is no longer a Soviet problem or an American problem, but a human problem.” I think the situation in Israel should be viewed the same way; a war does not leave anybody unharmed, and the ongoing conflict is not an Israeli problem or an Arab problem, but a human problem.
I am going to leave it here.
Hope that you will enjoy this website 🙂