This past week has been one of those crazy weeks you never forget. My step-dad has spent the week in the ICU due to two blood clots and after going into cardiac arrest. My mom, who is on her newest round of chemotherapy, is taking care of him. I’m just trying to keep my head above water. Trying to enjoy life’s little moments and joys to distract me. With some degree of success. Thank you to all my friends who’ve been there for me this week and are helping me get through this.
This week, the insanity of my life seemed to parallel that of Israel’s.
Just as my world seemed to be spinning, Israel voted in one of the most right-wing, ultra-religious governments in its history. As an Israeli citizen, I’m embarrassed to see the rise of fundamentalism in my other homeland. It just goes to show that what we’re seeing in the U.S. and Europe is spreading to other countries as well. We must rise or fall together. This is the moment for people who care about the future of Israel – and its Palestinian neighbors – to speak out for democracy.
Faced with adversity in Israel and my own home front, I’m faced with a choice. I could pray, I could sway, I could wait for others to act in my place.
I will do no such thing. First of all, I will be there for my immediate family. Secondly, I will be there for myself – allowing for moments of relief and even joy as I step away from the trauma I’m dealing with. I want to live my life, which is what my step-dad would want even as he struggles for his own.
And when it comes to my brethren across the ocean – Arab citizens of Israel, Palestinians, and Israeli Jews and Druze – I will step it up for you. As LGBTQ+ and Reform rights are also under attack, I will not sit by silently. The Israel and Palestine we want to build is possible. And we will not give up. Please consider a donation to Standing Together, my favorite Jewish-Arab activist organization, to promote solidarity and peace.
One of the things I learned while living in Israel was the power of embracing life and its fulfillment even in the darkest of moments. That’s why you’ll find Israelis partying on the beach as rockets fall down. It’s an extreme example, but a real one.
So as the rockets metaphorically fall on my own family and on Israel’s democracy, I will fight, but I will also dance. I will push when needed, rest my body to rejuvenate for the long haul, and I will enjoy the people and love that I get to experience each day.
Because as my cover photo from Majdal Shams says in Hebrew and Arabic: “Why not?” Hope lives, always.