Tuesday, July 1, 2014

ALL the Feels

This is my first blog posting from Israel. Today, I became an Israeli citizen! I was up to my eyeballs in papers and visas and all that fun bureaucratic stuff. The last 24 (48? 72?) hours have been a blur- a compilation of people and places and tastes and smells, but mostly of feelings. Tomorrow, I will blog about the silliness of the past few days; who I met, what I ate, where I went- but today I wanted to write about my feelings. I hear that when it's my own blog, I can do that.
         I will start by saying, as you may already know, that I am a passionate person. I have opinions and fears and thoughts and emotions and sometimes, they are maybe even too strong for my own good. Well- meaning people often tell me to "tone it down" and not be so opinionated- and they are probably right. But it is this passion that led me to make aliyah, this passion that guides so many of my life's choices and it is this passion that leads me to express myself here. I am not middle- of- the- road. Centrist. Vanilla. When it comes to US politics, I am strong-minded and truly believe in those convictions. And if your convictions are different than mine, I will still love you and be your friend and go to bat for you. You probably won't convince me of your views, but I won't convince you either- and we can still go get some froyo together. When it comes to Israeli politics, I am a "hawk". I believe unceasingly and unequivocally in Israel's right to exist, to remain a Jewish state, and to protect it's people by any means necessary. So as long as we're all clear on where I stand in this blog politically, I can talk freely about how I'm feeling with regards to the heinous murder of the 3 Jewish souls yesterday, at the hands of animalistic terrorists.
          It is hard to place a finger on where my emotions have been at any one time. Once the initial shock wore off after hearing the news (while frantically packing), I was gut-wrenchingly sad. I honestly felt like a family member died. Because, actually, 3 of them did. Three of my young, beautiful Jewish brothers were murdered in cold blood, for the "crime" of being Jews. And no amount of equivocation can ever lead me to believe that any, solitary act of terror is ever justified. It will not happen. I don't care if the Palestinians are left sitting in the dark with no water for a week. It still wouldn't justify randomly murdering 3 defenseless children (and by the way, Israel would never leave them in the dark without water.) 
          After my short bout with crippling sadness came anger. White- hot anger. Now, again, I am a passionate person. But this kind of anger is rare for me. Right-wing as I am, I don't loathe every Palestinian or Israeli Arab I see on the street. Do I wish Israel was demographically more Jewish and that the Arabs could live in one of the 22 Muslim- only countries or numerous Muslim-majority countries around the world? Or even Europe? Yes, I do. I'm sorry-sue me. But on a day-to- day basis, none of this ranks high on my list of concerns. So this anger was overwhelming- I didn't know what to do with it and where to direct it. The internet and most news outlets and the statement of the presidents did not calm me down. Israel should "use restraint?" Really? That's your recommendation right now? Would that be your feeling if it was your family, your brothers? Comments and opinions flying, it was hard to compartmentalize what was irrational and what was deliberate. I'm still trying to do that. The anger will subside, but for now my mind and my mind races. It was definitely a difficult day for aliyah, one that this nation will never forget, but there is a sort of poetry about this being the day I moved here.
          When I made aliyah today, when I stepped off the plane and into the ministry where I was processed as a new citizen, I felt so many more feelings washing over me- sadness at leaving my family, fear of the unknown, delirious tiredness. But mostly, I felt pride and gratitude. Proud that I get to live as a Jew in a Jewish country and be a part of the miracle that is Israel, every single day. I can't wait to see what else is ahead.

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