Posts Tagged 'Bibi'

I Love Israel: Growing Past Hope

For the past week I have had the Winona Oak and Chainsmokersearworm Hope stuck in my head.  This song tells the story of a woman’s reflection of the abusive relationship that she had with a partner when she was younger.  The chorus is particularly sticky. They sing:

You made me feel high
‘Cause you had me so low, low, low
You only seemed tall
‘Cause you stunted my grow-grow-growth
I only wanted you ’cause I couldn’t have you
Now that I know
That wasn’t love, that wasn’t love, that was just hope

The protagonist realizes that what she thought was a strong relationship was just an immature dependency. The song is catchy and worth a listen:

I really did not give it much more thought until the merger between right-wing parties Habayit Hayehudi and Otzma Yehudit, whose members are supporters of the late racist Rabbi Meir Kahane. Rightly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come under fire for endorsing this merger. While one should not be surprised with the rise of nationalism and xenophobia all over the world (e.g. Brexit and MAGA), but it is still saddening to see this strand of hatred and fear-mongering in Israel.

For Jews around the world, Israel represents our aspirations for a different future. We see this most clearly in Hatikvah, our national anthem. There we sing:

Our hope is not yet lost,
The hope two thousand years old,
To be a free nation in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

In my mind Israel is the realization of thousands of years of our yearning and suffering in Diaspora. This pernicious move to the right to normalize Kahane in the name of keeping us a “free nation in our land”, is actually losing the hope itself.

Thinking about  Hatikvah in this moment I found myself singing Hope by the Chainsmokers. Normalizing racism like Kahane isn’t love, that is just hope. After over 70 years of this imperfect but majestic history of the State of Israel, we need to grow up. We need to reflect on what kind of relationships we want to have and what kind of nation we want to be. We need to be bold and say that we love Israel, and immature hope is insufficient. If we push ourselves past hope to love we will expect more from our leadership and ourselves. Netanyahu is only perceived to be high in the polls because he has kept us so “low, low, low.” We need to reflect on this moment and “grow-grow-grow.”

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