20 November, 2010

"Two out of three aint bad"

Meatloaf hit a nerve with his "Two out of three Ain't Bad" (with lyrics) hit.
Relationships are never easy or clear cut or one sided. Nor are they always rational and logical; they are not free of hypocrisy or redundancy. Descriptions of them can be unintelligible. They are complicated and dynamic. This partially describes my current relationship with my home for the moment--Israel. Medinat Israel that is--the State of Israel.
Recent events and personal conversations and lectures have provided me with another lens for this country.
In case the news has gone by the wayside, here's a super short re-cap of the last few military events:
Peace talks in progress (whatever that means); IDF kills high ranking commander, Muhammad J. al Nimnim of the Army of Islam; two weeks later the IDF kills another of their commanders, Muhammad Yassin.
Army of Islam is a organization that even Hamas severed ties with. Retaliation with a couple of Qasaam rockets and a Grad rocket and some mortars into Israel. Israel then fires on selected targets in Gaza Strip. One story here and another here.
As a side note, another trial about to start in which Bishop Richard Williamson will defend his remarks regarding the exaggerated scope of the holocaust; he has hired a neo-nazi lawyer to help with his case.

My blood boils at hearing these things. My heart aches at the prospect of another war here. My soul cries for wholeness and peace (these words are the same root in hebrew שלם.)
I visit places like Tel Laqish which was a military strong hold during biblical times (1000-586 BCE) and I can touch the ruins. I sit on the side of the hill of Jerusalem where there once stood a palace. I look out over the Med sea at Tel Qasile. I marvel that I am able to do these things. That after thousands of years, I am still here saying those were my people. These are my roots.
I love this place, I love the history, I love the symbolism and the realness. I need this place to exist. I do and will support this place and its right to thrive.

And yet, I don't belong here. I don't belong in a place that is 85F at the end of November. I don't belong in place that doesn't sell Wheat Thins. I don't belong in a place where I can't walk down the street in relative peace. I don't belong in a place where I am constantly on the defense.
I suppose to change up Meatloaf's words: I love it, I need, but there aint no way I'm ever gonna want it.

For five months I have been living in this country and my relationship, like many, is still growing. It is not a single relationship I am dealing with however. I deal with the relationship to the collective Jewish past, the Jewish peoplehood. The relationship in the modern era of the State of Israel with other nations. The relationship to the people on the streets and in the grocery stores.  There is such history, such holiness (or perceived holiness, a discussion for a later time), such richness here. There is also dirt, dust, and dinginess.
If I didn't care, or if I abhorred it, my heart wouldn't break. But I love this place. I love this place so much, that all my heart can do is break, over and over again.