Israel vs America-Remember that Old "Loyalty" Question?
I had been thinking about my connection to the State of Israel (actually, I'm almost always thinking about my connection to Israel) when I read that post.
Now, you must understand that I consider myself a patriotic American. I am proud of the flag. I grew up on the East Coast in a big city, always have had an affinity for the West, horses, rugged individualism and pioneering. I value democracy and have always excersized my right to vote. When I was little I used to play "cowboys and Indians" (but I did always want to play the Indian) and to top that off, my husband is a Vietnam veteran (and my younger son was about to join the Coast Guard, when his brother invited him to make Aliyah with him. He said yes.)
But for a Jew (at any rate, for this Jew) there is a connection to Israel that one cannot easily explain. It's more of a connection on several planes with several dimensions to it: there is the physical and the spiritual; but there is also a visceral connection which is an enigma.
My heart still skips a beat when I hear someone behind me, say, at a mall--speaking Hebrew.
When I see the Israeli flag flying or even pictured somewhere, perhaps over a building, a house, in a high apartment window, painted among other flags on a store wall, etc.--I feel something, a lump in my throat, a sharp adrenalin flow--an emotion I can't explain;
If I hear or sing the Israel national anthem, the Hatikvah ("the hope"), tears come to my eyes. There is no rational reason.
It's hard to verbalize. The only thing I can say is, I am connected to Israel from the core of my being. I am an American, true, and love this country too, but in a different way (the older I get, the more I understand that love can take many forms). America doesn't go as deep into my soul as does Israel.
When I read that post, I started thinking about that age old loyalty question (well, it's as old as from 1948, perhaps), the one I was confronted with in my youth:
If there were a war between America and Israel, on whose side would you fight?
I had just finished watching a video on children of the holocaust, and my answer to that question was forming in my head, as I began composing a comment for that post called "On the State of Israel," on the blog Tales of an Angry Jew.
And then I realized, that I, too, am an angry Jew, but for different reasons: the world has made it thus. Here is my modified comment from that post:
. . . I do agree with you about
. When I was in grade school (a very MO college-prep yeshiva high school)that hypothetical case went around; I contended (at the time) that you can't posit a case like that, where Israel and the Israel are on opposite sides in a war, because both countries have the same democratic values of personal freedoms and a pioneering spirit. U.S.
If they are at war, it would mean that one or the other had changed in its morals, ethics and/or values and had become evil. In that manner, I never had to answer the question.
These days (I'm older and more cynical, perhaps) I look at it somewhat differently: for thousands of years we Jews have been persecuted and vilified, culminating in the Shoah, when the Nazis attempted to systematically exterminate us, while the world stood by and did nothing
Therefore, now that we Jews have our own country, with our (damn good I might add) army, G-d forbid, if there is a war between the U.S. and Israel--all other variables being equal--I will fight for Israel, with all its flaws.
There is no way in hell that I will allow my People to return to our previous state of persona-non-grata of the world. Period.
(please forgive my language.)