Written By: Bryan Spiegelman (Bogrim 2012)
Article Originally Published by The Times of Israel
As a Jew raised in Miami, Florida, I was taught to believe that Israel was perfect, and so I did. For about 18 years of my life I built my Jewish foundation on Israel’s perfect nation. The Land of Milk and Honey was exactly that, strong, pure and sweet. The State of Israel is a place that acts as a safe haven for Jews from all around the world, thrives in business and economy, and maintains a people with a sort of hospitality that you won’t find anywhere else in the world — it’s like everyone is family. Here you will find some of the “nicest” people, some of the most beautiful views, most amazing cities and most importantly, you will find a country full of history.
It’s hard to find a more compassionate country. Israel has made a strong effort to be the first responders at disasters worldwide, including the earthquake in Haiti, the avalanche in Nepal, and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Israeli scientists and researchers have made progress in the cure for cancer search. The IDF is a strong and prideful army that does whatever it possibly can to protect the civilians of this great nation.
From Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Haifa to the Golan Heights, Eilat to the Dead Sea you will see things, those of a dream, and meet people that make you feel like you belong. It’s a melting pot. Jewish people from all over the world and all sects of the religion come to Israel to feel familiar and welcomed. There are Jews from every hemisphere who come live here because it feels safe and warm, not only because of the temperature. But just like there’s warmth, there’s also cold.
There is a bitter social and religious divide. We know about the Palestinian-Israel conflict, but wait, there’s more. The Haredi Jews don’t consider secular Jews as Jewish. The homosexual people who live in Israel don’t have the right to get legally wed because a homosexual union is against Jewish law. There is racism directly pointed at Jews from Ethiopia, Eritrea and other African countries who only want a safe place to live and this was there only option.
Look at Israel through a wide lens, not a narrow one. Open your eyes, because if we continue to be narrow-minded then this won’t be fixed—it must be fixed.
To truly love Israel fully, love her for real. Love her for her beauties and her flaws, just like any relationship. The Jewish people are in this for the rest of eternity and in order to keep Israel moving forward, the racism must stop, the dilemmas must calm themselves and the divide must not be so bold.
Never forget about the Israel that we already know and love, but don’t be naive. It’s time to step up and make the change.
Bryan Spiegelman is from Miami, Florida. He is a proud Jew and he has been involved in the youth movement