ISRAEL: If You Must Live Surrounded by Jews...
Ok so I voluntarily jumped off a cliff into the never-ending rabbit hole that is the Iraeli/Palestinian Conflict. Fun! Let me apologize ahead of time for the sound on this one, blame alcohol as always and not setting up microphones in a stationary way. So first up, the Israeli soldier I fell for when I was forced to go on birthright by my mother about 5 years ago. When he walked into the charter bus a bunch of chomosomally challenged Jewish Americans and I were sharing I left a actual puddle on the seat. You should have seen his giant gun and uniform! Unreal. For a girl who grew up with men that couldn't connect a V.C.R, this was really a novel sight.
He was part of the Sheldags, a hyper elite squadron that was in charge of the most difficult secret sniper missions. He trained for years, was tortured and tested by his leaders to make sure he could have handled capture or torture from the other side. He was the toughest boy I had ever met. He was 21 at the time, but he wore the weight of the whole world on this hunched shoulders. When I left he gave me his pin, a parachute with wings, which was apparently like the highest form of compliment i could have gotten from him. I still have it.
I stayed in Israel afterwards in this little hut on his Kibbutz picking avocados and passion fruit from trees, learning how to milk cows and plant tomatoes...chain smoking cigarettes and downing thick dark bottled ales. He was an amazing guitarist, but unfortunately obsessed with Dave Matthews, so he'd play crash into me (HATE that song) and we would sit in grass and peel fruit and watch shooting stars and discuss politics in his extra medium english. The good news was we always had a way of understand one another. I feel in love with him, his country, his pride, and his entire way of life. Ive always kept in touch with him and thought he's be the perfect person to shed some light on this on going mess.
What have I learned...? That I still love Israel. That I don't agree with sanctions, that I don't believe that anyone should be forced form their home and made to live like an outsider, that is FUCKING COMPLEX, that I hate that people make you choose, that it's this seemingly black or white equation when it's really a prism of a 100 fucked up shades of silence and despair and fear and hope and death and perseverance. That I love human resilience, that I am in awe of the fabric we have woven together as a jewish people and how amazing it is that a tiny itty bitty military complex could ward off every surrounding land that is it's actual enemy. That I think that Palestinians should have representations and a place to call their own home.
Mostly though, that everyone is wrong, and everyone is right and it makes no difference because people are starving and dying and life is brutally unfair .
Edited by Katherine Ray Mondo & Emily Brodtman