On the Footsteps of an Elusive Peace

 In Antisemitism, Honesty, Compassion, and Respect

Over the past three days, I’ve been exposed to the battlegrounds and players of conflict, but there is much more to learn before I can propose a game strategy. Regardless of what I do not know, and seek to learn, what I do know is that integral to keeping the king of democracy alive and striding toward peace is preserving the Jewish state of Israel, of course with tweaks to its policies. We’ve seen that throughout this region’s history, there’s no better alternative.


I remember myself at the age of the children I observed roaming the slums of Aida. I was immersed in learning about the beauty of my heritage and to relish in my culture. I was taught about foods, festivals, and the diverse fabric of cultures woven together in Israel. I was never told to hate a Palestinian, never to hate an Arab. For goodness sake, I have Arab roots. We, Israeli-Jews, share history and cuisine with Muslim-Egyptians, Lebanese, Jordanians, and Syrians. My grandfather was treated by Arab-Israeli nurses when he had cancer. Beyond my Jewish schooling, I was encouraged to make friends with everyone: Iranians, Russians, Turks, Indians, and beyond. As the Hebrew expression goes ‘kulam mishpacha.’ We’re all family.

When we look at societies from antiquity to modernity, those that flourish are those that spread unbounded knowledge, teach their children to take humble pride in their heritage, and protect their people like a bear protects its cubs. Societies that break are the ones who disseminate hatred and oppress their own people by way of warped, radical mantras. My question “why hate and destroy when you can accept, integrate, love, and progress?” remains unanswered. Pride in my identity and values from my warm culture shaped me; tolerance, respect, and compassion became my motto. Hate was never a part of my education. 

I went to Jewish school, but was never acquainted with radical doctrine— religious, ethnic, or political. I was taught that Israel is a small country, a sanctuary of refuge for millions of others including my family. I was taught that Israel is a beacon of democracy in the Middle East shielded by a tenacious defense force who uses revolutionary technology seeking to save lives; a country that is a watering hole of advancement flooding with an ocean of opportunities; a country where different waves of cultures coalesce freely in high spirits. A holy land indeed. Promised, maybe, for peace one day.


We enjoy Shabbat dinner at my aunt’s house as fireworks disperse over Israel’s south. Not fireworks bursting to celebrate the fourth of July or some other grand event, but fireworks performing to protect nine million people from fifteen terrorists planning some brutal blow. To protect families blessing wine and breaking bread together at the end of the work week. To protect the precious lands upon which I walked, watched, saw, smelled, and felt that bear a breadth of potential. 

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