Wednesday, February 4, 2009


With the elections drawing very near, this is the talk of the coffee shops and cafes, like in any country that votes. It's in our heads and a bit heavy on our hearts.... at least on mine.

When I write my other column (blog Today in Israel) I can be detached, analytical - the journalist and commentator. But when I write this column...well, my heart shows a bit more.

I am concerned. While there is "hope" in some camps, the street is frustrated. Israeli politics being what they are, no one trusts anyone in or near the government. Lots of regular people are slightly depressed - still struggling from the betrayal of Barak not finishing the job in Gaza and wondering...what's around the corner.

There are rumblings about the north, and it seems like something may erupt at the Israel/Lebanon border. We can feel it.

Yet Israelis are so resilient. A week from now, when the elections are all over with, the talk in the coffee shops and cafes will be turning towards the spring and what it will bring. Unless of course...the north explodes, or the south re-ignites, or ...the list goes on. It is because the suffering is so great here at times that Israelis learn to turn their emotions on and off - at the drop of a hat they can shift gears, making the best of a bad situation. It's called survival.

Slowly, slowly I am learning how.

In times of trouble we are at our strongest, we pull together as a People. But we have something else. After the shkedim bloom and we are reminded of God's word over Jerusalem, we will know Esther's courage and determination to save our People (Purim) and we will rejoice and laugh. Shortly after that, we will once again experience God taking us out of Egypt and into freedom in Pesach. Whether these are traditionally observed or religiously observed, they will permeate the country. No matter what trouble we may be suffering through, in the midst of it, we as a nation always stop and celebrate our journey...and it strengthens us.

We are a national People, Am Yisrael. And I am drinking it all in. Slowly, slowly I am learning and understanding a bit more of what it means to be Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael.

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