After living in England for 33 years I still wonder what is it about my country of birth, Israel, which generates so much attention, often the wrong kind: Scorned by so many; the Rock n’ roll “politicians”, John and Yoko style, who sing from the comfort of their recording studio or bed “Give peace a chance”; the furious lefties, fuming human right activists; not to mention a good many million Muslims and clandestine anti Semites. Sometimes being an Israeli in Bristol, UK, is a fact you better hide. Other times it feels like one is a reviled celebrity, i.e. after being flattered by the bestowed attention and curiosity, one becomes indignant and defensive.
Celebrities always say they ignore the papers but they rarely do. Being an Israeli you come across the rock n’ roll politicians, John and Yoko style everywhere. I wish they only sang thought. Sometimes when they are drank they would shout and I know a couple who even travelled to the check points in the occupied territories to taunt Israeli soldiers who are only doing their job, (like my 19 years old niece). So I speak passionately to friends about my country but usually I’m preaching to the converted. People in my crowd often have similar opinions, and if they don’t, they dare not say otherwise. My partner bombards Facebook with Hasbarah posts (‘explanation’ in Hebrew) while I panic a little in the background in case he is forming for us too much of a right wing image.
0h England my lion heart, my England’s green and pleasant land*, is it not wonderful that you are so safe now and so good? In the beginning people have created a country for themselves and saw it was good and called it England. How simple, just like a fantastic children story… With time their land has blossomed into a glorious civilization; equal only to a magnificent necklace sparkling with gemstones such as Shakespeare, Dickens and the “Beatles”. The birth pains of the country brought countless years of violence as the Celts, Britons, Romans, Saxons, Vikings, Normans, French and Germans all fought one another in a greedy, brutal bid for sovereignty. Subsequently, this element only makes for a more exciting story; bringing in a bit more zest and spice to our children book. How fun! Vikings; who were fundamentally a bunch of robbers, terrorists and rapists. William the Conqueror, the ruthless Norman king who saw himself as harsh but fair (that is if fairness means gouging someone’s eyes for poaching). The pages of our book move from the reign of Richard 1st, the crusading king, to the war of the roses which in our time inspired the legendry epic ‘Game of Thrones.’ They pass forward to the Napoleonic wars and then cross over smoothly and elegantly to the Victorian era of the great British Empire and endless cups of tea. The children now ride on a double decker bus between the two world wars, walk amongst the ruins of the Blitz and fly with pride on an RAF plane on our way to bomb Germany…
Ah well, but nowadays there is peace. England is a tolerant country with a welfare system and a fierce political correctness, (until Brexit that is). But still so level-headed, so 21st century, so jam-packed with wagging fingers towards other countries with other realities. The ‘bad guy’ of all the finger-wagers, is the relevantly newly born state of Israel. How much attention can one country create just because it happened to be born less than 70 years ago? Everybody truly forgets all sense of proportion, the UN is obsessed. All the same, my land of milk and honey suffers from the same Catch-22 which is produced in humankind’s DNA and which is called war! Only that the land of milk and honey fights its wars under the scrutiny of the Rock n’ roll peace lovers, the all-out lefties, the cameras of betselem, etc… So there we go; the peace lovers are all beside themselves; fuming with rage; not to mention the clandestine anti Semites. Oh yeah! And I nearly forgot the many millions of people who believe that Israel should have never existed. The fascist state of Israel is the most hated concept in all of the Jewish history.
But put joking aside, the serious truth is that although many wish otherwise, the Israelis are in Israel to stay, as unlike the Saxons, Vikings, Normans, French, Germans and Romans, the Israelis have nowhere else to go…
Let me tell you something: I’m a lost cause! My resolve of not taking too much notice is dwindling fast… It lasted as long as my diets. I’m full of good intentions until something happens and I find myself watching the news again and eating some cakes.