Israel IS a Jewish country
By Justin Amler
I’ve got something to say, because maybe it’s not said enough. And maybe there are some people who might get upset by it. Because maybe, in this world of universalism and post-Zionism, and ‘we are all one’ and political correctness, and everyone is the same and yada yada yada, the idea of a group that doesn’t swim with the tide, and doesn’t conform to the norms and doesn’t just do what is expected of them is… well… not proper. Maybe it’s just too… primitive for this wonderfully socially progressive world we find ourselves in.
You see, Jews are a really small minority in the world. I’m talking miniscule, around 14 million, give or take, out of a population of 7 billion. That’s not much. It’s just .2 percent of an entire global population. To put that in perspective, there are more people in Shanghai or Istanbul than the entire Jewish population of the earth.
And in this vast world of land and sand and rock and water with billions of people, there’s this tiny little dot, a pinprick really, that is Jewish. And what does that mean to have a Jewish country?
Well… I’ll tell you.
It means that on days like Yom Kippur, when Jews fast and reflect on the year that’s gone by, we don’t have to ask for leave from work. It means that if you want to keep kosher, you don’t have to search the aisles of the local supermarket, dodging BDS degenerates, for the section called Kosher, if one exists. It means that on the front page of the newspapers, they display the Jewish year 5776 in addition to the regular one. It means that you can walk the streets without fear of hiding your Jewishness. If you want to wear a kippah, that’s fine. If we want to wear a chai around your neck, displayed proudly in gold or silver or any other material – well, that’s fine too.
It means that there are places throughout the country where you can dig the earth with your bare hands and uncover Jewish life from thousands of years earlier - real items that can be touched and felt – not imaginary ones that exist only in the minds of others.
It means that the Star of David, like the one that hangs around my neck, is the same one that is emblazoned on the national flag. It means that around you, is the sound of Hebrew, a language so old that many thought could never be revived, and yet it has been. The same language in which our most precious books from thousands of years ago are written.
It means that when a cold and cruel world exhibits its anti-Semitic tendencies – they’re directing it at not just you but your country too and hoping it will disappear. It means that we don’t have to worry about places like Denmark and many other European countries who want to change our way of life by banning kashrut slaughtering. It also means that while our enemies commemorate their nakba with violence and protest, just one of thousands of disastrous decisions they make, Jews around the world celebrate our renewed independence with street parties and music and joy.
And I’ll tell you what else it means. It also means that any Jew in this world, rich or poor, religious or secular, educated or not will never be rejected and will always find a home in Israel.
Now some people call that racist – a country that holds a special right for Jews who want to live there. But that’s not racist - it’s simply a recognition of the Jewish link to the Land of Israel – a link that’s been established long before just about any country in the world had even existed. A link that so many people and so many rulers over so much time tried and continue to try to wipe out.
And although Israel has many non-Jews who serve in the army and in society with distinction and honour, it is not a Christian country and it is not a Muslim country. And while both Christians and Muslims have the same rights as any citizen, we should never lose fact that Israel IS a Jewish country. And being a Jewish country doesn’t mean every single Jewish religious law is the same law as the country, or non Jews are discriminated against, but what it does mean is that there is a Jewish spirit that permeates throughout the land, from the sea of the Mediterranean, to the mountains of the Galil to the deserts of Judea – a sprit as old as the people itself.
Israel is a Jewish country and it is one in which our ancestors dwell close by. A country where our eternal capital of Jerusalem is within reach by bus or car. A country where you can hike across the same valleys our forefathers hiked thousands of years earlier.
But it’s also our sanctuary, and with the multitude of enemies around us, that may seem strange to others, but to us not so much, because Israel is a Jewish country and Israel is our home – and it’s the only one we’ll ever have.
Justin Amler is a South African born, Melbourne based columnist who has lived in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia and is currently working in the Information Technology industry. He is a regular contributor to international publications, including the Jerusalem Post and the Times of Israel. Justin is also a valued Israel Forever blogger, writing about his connection to the Jewish state. You can reach Justin on Twitter, Facebook & Google+.