Having been in Israel seven times since 2002, with five of those trips taking others with me to volunteer in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), I have been asked many times if I have family in Israel. My response has always been, “no family, just friends and I have fallen in love with the country.”
However, after careful thought, I have decided that I do have family in Israel — we all do.
We all have family in Israel as we are all related in some way to each other and we are all responsible for each other. It says so in the Torah: We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. Regardless of whether we are Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, observant, nonobservant, good or bad Jews; we are all Jews and we are all related. Some of us are left wing, some right wing; some believe Israel is doing the right thing, some don’t.
The important thing is that every Jew who lives in Israel is part of our family.
And Israel is our insurance policy. It is the place where we can go when the going gets bad, wherever we live in the diaspora. It is the country that exists for us regardless of what kind of Jews we are. If we are in trouble, it is the country that will take us in.
Therefore, we must support her in terms of financial support, moral support and prayers for her safety. And that is not just for the good of Israel, but also for our good. It means that we must support Israel in the media as well as to non-Jews in conversation.
If you don’t like how the government of Israel is running the country, write a letter to the prime minster of Israel, not the media in the United States. Believe me, there are enough Jew haters in the world that Israel has to defend against; she doesn’t have to defend against Jews.
(The author is the Pittsburgh representative for Volunteers for Israel.)