Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Remembering Israel's History

I know Israel as a representation of strength. And this is true, of course. Israel is strong and enduring, but many fail to recognize that for a point in her history, the Jewish people were without an anchor. They were nomads, wandering against their will, and Israel’s Independence Day was the force by which these men, women, and children became fastened to a homeland. This is Israel. That being said, today I had the privilege of being enlightened and educated at Israel's Independence Museum in Tel Aviv. Our tour guide, adorned in shades of blue like the nation's flag, conveyed a message, which rocked me to my very core. "The tragedy of the Jewish people," he explained, "was that they didn't have a 911." As I listened to the passionate words of this man, I couldn't help but think back to recent events of the United States. Not in an ethnocentric, "my culture is better than yours" type of way, but instead in a way by which I was able to gain an even greater appreciation for first, the oppression of the Jewish people and second, their unbreakable solidity.

When the Boston bombings occurred in the US, a flood of police officers and military officials arrived within moments of the tragedy. When New York was attacked on September 11th, every news station transmitted the information, and every form of help was directly sent to the scene. When someone is wrongfully treated in a school ground, the whole nation is alerted, and immediate actions are taken. This cannot be said, though, for the Jewish people. When Nazis stormed the neighborhoods of various countries, the Jewish people did not have a 911 to call. There was no military force giving them a backbone, no police to arrest the soldiers for searching their houses without proper intent. There was no defense. Despite this anchorless history, David Ben Guiron was able to stand, his feet firmly planted in what is now Israel’s Independence Museum on May 14th, 1948. “This is our story,” the tour guide proclaimed with an emotional tone.

The tour came to an end inside the room the Declaration was actually signed in, and as I looked left and right to fellow Blue Star students, I thought about how diverse the group was. We all came from different backgrounds, different ethnicities, and many of us set foot in Israel for the first time just yesterday. However, as the Israeli national anthem rang, we all stood in unison. My goose bumps were clearly evident at this point, and I stood in awe at the impact this history is able to have on a group of such different people. The enduring solidity of the Jewish people from the past is still, to this day, changing the lives of students around the world including non-Jewish students like me, and it can never be forgotten. Israel is a nation of strength, but one mustn’t forget what she has overcome in order to rightfully obtain this status.


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