As a regular visitor to Israel and one who has lived among the Jewish people
although I am not Jewish, I am continually amazed at how this land and its
people manage to maintain their sense of balance, direction and joie de vivre in
spite of the fact that they are surrounded by enemies on every
Israelis continually confront crisis after crisis, yet somehow
their spirits remain high and their collective moral compass stays true to their
love of freedom and democracy and their faith in God.
Israel’s list of
woes is almost unending. It is continually attacked by terrorists and is the
only civilized country in the world whose very existence is threatened by its
hate-filled neighbors on a daily basis. It is the subject of worldwide
divestment campaigns and is condemned and maligned regularly by the worldwide
Yet, in spite of the emotional stress and turmoil inflicted on
this tiny nation, Israel is flourishing.
During the recent holidays, I
again had the privilege of being in Jerusalem. Restaurants were full. The
streets were crowded with pedestrians, cyclists, tourists and shoppers. People
gathered in the streets by the thousands, not to protest or create violence but
to sing, dance and play music celebrating life, family, friends and
For the past 14 years I have been broadcasting on radio and
television and penning articles for newspapers and publications attempting to
communicate to the international community Israel’s side of the story. It’s
frustrating for me as a Christian journalist to be constantly bombarded by the
international media with stories portraying Israel as the villain and the reason
there is no peace in the Middle East.
The fact of the matter is, Israel
is the only oasis of stability in the region.
While being forced to live
in very rough neighborhood, somehow Israelis manage to carry on celebrating life
and not death, birthing children instead of strapping bombs around the bodies of
their little ones and sending them off as homicide bombers.
contributing to the betterment of mankind while its enemies are busy
Israelis lead the world in the advancement of science,
technology, healthcare and agriculture, to name only a fraction of their
contributions to the world. Their sense of belonging and connection miraculously
allows them to rise above their circumstances, creating positives where,
naturally speaking, one would expect negatives.
Yet Israel’s existence is
While joyously building succot, dancing in the
streets embracing life and hoping for peace, Israelis must also be about the
business of building bomb shelters and distributing gas masks and making sure
their defense forces are polished and ready.
As a supporter of Israel, I
join in its celebration of life and also in its desire to protect its citizens
from terrorist aggression. This past week I had the privilege of donating a
second shipment of ballistic- proof backpacks to schoolchildren in
In a ceremony held at the Ashkelon Municipal Building with the
city’s mayor, Benny Vaknin, I expressed a bittersweet message to the children
and their teachers that it is such a joy to bring gifts to the people of Israel,
but the bitter part is that these particular gifts are needed to protect
My prayer is that these marvelous, life-saving inventions
will never have to be used as a protective device but rather only to carry books
and lunches.Long live Israel and may it continue to be a light unto the
nations! The writer is Israel’s goodwill ambassador to Christian and Jewish
communities around the world.
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