At Home with the Flu Listening to the World about Israel
By DOVID BEN-MEIR
Sometimes we're so busy that we sit a moment, thinking: "I'm so tired, I wish I could sleep a few days almost straight through!"Well, I caught this winter's flu two weeks ago and had some days of almost straight sleep –and believe me, it's no relief! Sure I was at home and missed work; sure I slept a lot; sure I read stuff just for fun (Shelby Foote's history of the Civil War) – but it wasn't a rest, it was the flu.I don't have a computer at home or a smartphone (I prefer smart people with dumb phones rather than the other way around) so I'm without internet which is indeed restful. I heard radio (we don't have a T.V. either), and the news is always a mix of the frustrating, the fantastic, the fun and the fictional.While I was home sick with the flu the V.P. of the U.S. came to visit – not my home, but my homeland. I feel I have no right to express an opinion about internal American politics, since I haven't lived in the States for over forty years, but what relates to American policies towards Israel is something I think I can say something about. It was very heartening, reclining in our second-hand sofa sipping first-rate hot tea mixed with cinnamon, lemon and honey, and just listening to Vice President Pence address the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.It was one of the most truly Zionist speeches I've heard in a while. I mean it was a truly Zionist speech because it recognized that Israel has been the Jewish homeland for thousands of years. It recognized the true source of the eternal connection between the Jewish people and Jewish religion and the Holy Land as well as the Holy City – Yerushalayim. It was a truly Zionist speech because it recognized the truly miraculous characteristic of the phenomenon of the modern rejuvenation of ancient Jewish sovereignty. It was truly Zionist because it recognized that Zionism – the Jewish movement for rejuvenation and self-determination in our homeland – didn't start with the first Zionist Congress and certainly not in wake of the Holocaust – but with the Bible, with the Jewish religion throughout the ages, as expressed in a myriad of laws, customs and prayers. It was a truly good speech because it recognized that the state of Israel didn't arise because of the Holocaust – but rather Israel was established miraculously just three years after the end of the WWII in spite of the Holocaust, not because of it.Recognizing the extraordinary nature of the rejuvenation of Jewish sovereignty, the rejuvenation of an almost dead land and an almost dead language, recognizing the Divine Hand in all this is to recognize the truth of Jewish Nationalism, known as Zionism.There are those who deny the truth – and sometimes I wonder if they know the falsity of their claims or they have succeeded in duping themselves. The political leaders of our Arab neighbors, in all their corruptness and ineptitude, are constantly trying to deny the facts of history in this land, whether ancient or recent, constantly re-writing history in a 1984 manner. There are those who falsify international law and deny Jews the rights to live in their land. Being at home with the flu I also heard a lot of these distortions over the radio – people who should know better that don't.Now I'm back at work and back at this blog. Yesterday I heard another absurdity – if it wasn't just plain anti-Semitism. In Ireland there's a move to ban imports from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria – another instance of double standard and Jew-baiting. So I say to the Irish: your country was invaded and held by the British for centuries until you finally regained your independence. I'm happy for you – but think a moment: what language is spoken in Ireland, is it Gaelic (Irish) or English? You see, we had been dispersed and yet after almost 2,000 years of exile we came back to life and we speak the language of our ancestors, the same language found on archeological finds from 2,700 years ago, with names from the Bible. Perhaps a bit more respect for the truth is fitting?Thank you V.P. Mike Pence for your words of truth - I hope the Irish hear them as well.