Israel keeps resurrecting Hitler – according to Amos Oz – an Israeli writer and journalist – looking for him in Iran, within Hamas, and within any other enemy group that does not support a Jewish state, justifying their political and military decisions.
“This urge to revive Hitler, only to kill him again and again, is the result of pain that poets can permit themselves to use, but not statesmen… even at great emotional cost personally, you must remind yourself and the public that elected you its leader that Hitler is dead and burned to ashes.” — in response to public statements made by Menachem Begin, Israel’s sixth prime minister.
Neil Lazarus, an influential speaker and educator on the topic of the emotionally hefty and global game-changing Arab-Israeli conflict, whom I had the pleasure of meeting and listening to a few days ago, explained to a group of international students beginning an Israeli adventure in Tel-Aviv, that Israel was not created as the outcome of the Holocaust, but instead the Holocaust was permitted to occur because no Jewish state existed. Mr. Lazarus went on to briefly touch on a few historical moments, and summarize Israel’s predicament in taking action with Iran, extremism v. pragmatism, and America’s outsider and pivotal place in all of this. He was surprisingly objective, engaging, charming, and I left the lecture feeling quite inspired by my decision (action in context) of being here, now. He concluded the lecture by encouraging us to become a part of the story, and that means understanding the HUMAN point of view (perhaps the human part was my take on his words), talking to people and not just observing. By choosing to spend time in the Middle East, I guess we (I) are doing just that.
The theme is (still) home. This is the “homeland” for so many different groups of people, all trying to reclaim what they think is rightfully theirs. But it’s not just about land, it’s about history and the spiritual plight of human beings, trying to find answers in a world full of questions. As the daughter of two American immigrants from the former Soviet Union, part Ashkenazim, part Sephardim, American born, privileged and haunted by the stories of my ancestors and the Diaspora of the bloody paths of these dwelling seekers, I never really understood my place in any of it – physically, metaphorically and definitely no lasting spiritual value system to call my own. Here, everyone has a similar story, everyone living here is a mutt, a mix of cultural and religious backgrounds speaking 3 different dialects of the same common language, everyone has a sob story about their families, about antisemitism, about Hitler’s affect on the DENSITY [sic] of the crossing of our individual paths. It’s a nation that is alive with commerce, loud noises, cat piss, markets, impatience, young Israeli soldiers in uniform, who use their military training to pick up American girls at the Tel-Aviv bars, and above all, a strong sense of unity (well, at least among the Jewish people). “Whoever says there is no racism in Israel is either blind or Ashkenazi.” — Neil Lazarus
All criticism and judgment aside, the state of Israel, the people of Israel, Palestinians, humanKIND, we all have the divine opportunity to make choices in our lives, shaping the story, creating dialogue with experience. Preemptive striking or retaliation, offense or defense, the battle is at Kurukshetra:
“The struggle is between two halves of human nature, and choices are posed every moment. Everyone who has accepted this challenge, I think, will testify that life offers no fiercer battle than this war within. We have no choice about the fighting; it is built into human nature. But we do have the choice of which side to fight on.” — Eknah Easwaran, introduction to The Bhagavad Gita
“Now, Arjuna, reflect on these words and then do as you choose” — Bhaghavad Gita (18:63)