Why the Temple Mount crisis is calling me home, to Israel

I often turned my back on Shabbat, yet I now seek it.

July 30, 2017 20:39
Israeli security forces stand at the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Tem

Israeli security forces stand at the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, after Israel removed all security measures it had installed at the compound, and Palestinians entered the compound in Jerusalem's Old City July 27, 2017.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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This has been a particularly tough week for the Jewish People. The “crisis” at the Temple Mount has given the extremists in the Arab world the opportunity to use fallacious arguments, staged violence, propaganda and a skewed version of history to justify inciting and igniting violence and committing barbaric murder of Israeli Jews and non-Jews alike.

Oddly, but not surprisingly, the mainstream international media as well as those journalists in Israel who can’t see past their own hate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both seem to have forgotten that this entire crisis was triggered when three Arab Israelis stabbed two Druse Israeli police officers to death who were ironically keeping the Mount safe for everyone, including Muslims.

That’s a reality check.

Yet it seems this fact has been mostly ignored and this crisis and how it has played out on the international stage sadly has proven that violence does pay.

Unfortunately, Israel had no choice but to play into the hand of its enemies who staged this whole crisis to create an international incident and gain sympathy.

Sadly it worked.

Additionally, it seems the international media blatantly and recklessly once again allowed themselves to be manipulated and used as pawns. They reported the news using the facade of “unbiased media coverage” while inaccurately and irresponsibly spreading malicious lies and propaganda that portrays Israel as the “Goliath.” The Qatar state-funded media outlet Al Jazeera has gone even further, using the Temple Mount crisis as an excuse to incite violence, putting the lives of innocent people at risk.

It seems the murder of Israelis is all but ignored by the media while any death of a Palestinian murderer or terrorist is justified and given more or equal weight.

We have seen that recently as it relates to BBC. In fact, the BBC’s former CEO called its anti-Israel bias “inexcusable.”

Fortunately, all is not lost as there are a few responsible news networks like the i24NEWS English global network that work tirelessly to provide fair, accurate and unbiased news coverage from Israel, the Middle East and around the globe.

Watching these events and this entire charade unfold and coming back to the US after a year in Israel has renewed my lifelong commitment to the State of Israel and to the Jewish People.

Just a few months ago, I moved back to the US to continue the work I had started in Israel. I initially chose to move to Israel in 2016 to search for purpose within the context of my Judaism, like so many of us do after a particularly difficult time in our lives. In hindsight, I realize that I came ill prepared. I wasn’t ready for the cultural barriers that exist and the tough adjustment of moving to a new country where I couldn’t speak the language and had limited financial resources.

Yet, in hindsight, I now realize that the suffering was necessary; it is the glue that holds the Jewish People together.

These trials and tribulations have given us the strength and resolve to carry on and thrive for thousands of years despite the historical and consistent persecution and systematic murder by those who have made every effort to destroy us. Yet we have survived and the Jewish nation of Israel still lives! While I was in Israel, I initially searched for Judaism but then ran away – it was too overwhelming, Yet, I now crave it.

I often turned my back on Shabbat, yet I now seek it. I was frustrated with the harshness of the Hebrew language and my lack of fluency, yet when I now hear someone speak it, I feel safe and protected, knowing my family is close. And when I hear “Hatikvah” and “Am Yisrael Chai” and see the waving of the Israeli flag with our Jewish Star, knowing the price our people paid to freely fly it, I cry with pride. And despite our enemies and their attempt to weaken the Jewish People by creating a distinction and driving a wedge between Judaism and Israel, they are one and the same. Our fate and our future depend on a powerful IDF, continued practice of our Judaism and on a strong and prosperous Israel.

I’m certainly not advocating for special treatment, just reasonable and fair coverage as it relates to Israel. Journalists should certainly hold the Israeli government and politicians accountable, but it should be done ethically and responsibly.

So today when I see the anti-Israel media bias on TV and the raw footage with pictures of the crime scenes where my brothers and sisters, proud and freedom-loving Israeli Jews and non-Jews alike who are consistently and brutally murdered by Islamic fundamentalists, my blood boils.

But after the initial anger and sadness subsides, it motivates me and gives me greater purpose. It strengthens my resolve and my deep commitment to never stop doing my part in fighting injustice no matter where in the world it exists, helping to maintain the US-Israel relationship and fighting and standing up for my people with unwavering loyalty, no matter the cost to myself; that’s the price I pay to be Jewish.

While I was living in Israel, I was terribly homesick. I longed for the comfortability and familiarity of my home in the US. But once I came back my soul felt empty, something was missing. In hindsight, I now realize that the majority of Israelis are my family, even if we’ve never met, and while the aliya journey was arduous, it changed me and nothing for me can ever be the same.

Eventually, when the time is right, I’ll permanently return to my ancestral homeland to fulfill my deep responsibility and continue to do my part to make sure that the Jewish People continue to persevere, thrive and survive long after my time on this planet. That’s my covenant with God, the Jewish People and the future of the democratic and Jewish State of Israel and it’s the Temple Mount crisis and the savage murders of my people this week that sealed my fate and cemented that commitment.

The author is a political commentator and a member of the POLITICO Caucus team. Formerly a political strategist, fund-raiser and cohost and producer of The Gray Zone radio show, he is currently living in New York.

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