Re: Current events in Israel
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Re: Current events in Israel

May 16, 2018 06:17PM
Alyssa Sonnenblick shared,

“I am always nervous about presenting Israel as a dangerous place when talking to high school students. How can I best offer balance between showing Israel as a growing, prosperous country and a place where young men (and women) must serve in an army that needs to defend its borders from terror organizations.”

The number of young men and women who are making aliyah from North America and joining the IDF as Lone Soldiers these days is truly remarkable to behold. Serving in the IDF is not easy and serving in elite units (which many of these lone soldiers do) is even more demanding. To do this without having your own family in the country is even more difficult. Yet they seem to have no doubt that Israel is the place to be and serving in the Israeli army is the right thing to do. Why not show your students video clips of these young men and women who are imbued with a desire to be part of history, part of their nation’s history. Many youth are romantic and highly ideologically motivated; rather than giving in to the assumption that serving in the army is a horrific experience, why not emphasize the tremendous opportunity Israeli youth have to learn and grow, contribute and sacrifice for a value that they hold dear. In American society where forging a Jewish identity is fraught with roadblocks, in Israel it comes far more naturally.

Furthermore, your very assumption that Israel is an especially dangerous place is part of what causes your problem. It is probably no less dangerous—unless you are hanging around the Gaza border today—than many other places in the world, including many American high schools. In central Jerusalem or Tel Aviv I am sure that you are more likely to be severely injured in a car accident than a terrorist attack. I doubt your students would be afraid of coming to Israel because of the drivers, though that might be a logical conclusion. Whether or not Israel is statistically more dangerous than any other country—many of which have far higher homicide rates, what attitudes you teach your students about exploring and addressing their potential fears, while staying true to their values is the key question, in my humble opinion.

Israel is a growing and prosperous country, to put it mildly. The fact that Israeli youth need to defend it during their mandatory army service and in reserve duty is probably part of the reason for Israel’s remarkable success on so many fronts. With our backs to the wall and our desire to support our youth, we struggle to create a better and ever more prosperous society. As former soldiers, many of whom have risked their lives for this country, we are determined to build a country that is worth dying for. So not only is mandatory service an education in love of country (though it is risky and tiresome at times), it is also the logical beginning of a lifetime of love and pride in one’s country. A love which also trumps the random terror attacks on civilians that do lead to an atmosphere of fear, but also demonstrate how resilient and fearless people can be when they stick to their values and face their fears head on. This, in my humble opinion, is the message you need to give your students: many places in the world are dangerous (much more dangerous), but not that many offer the tremendous rewards for loyalty that supporting Israel does for a Jew.

All the best,

Meshulam Gotlieb, MA
Academic Translator and English-Language Editor
Co-Founder, Israeli NEABPD
Member of the Israel Translators Association ;
mobile phone: 0523791720

Before you speak...THINK: T - is it TRUE? is there one TRUTH? H - is it HELPFUL/Effective? I - is it INSPIRING? IN THE MOMENT? N - is it NECESSARY? NONJUDGMENTAL? K - is It KIND, KOMPASSIONATE, and KURIOUS??

Be'er Heytev Translations--"paying attention to the text and its author on purpose, in the moment, non-judgmentally, with compassion and curiosity"

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/16/2018 06:19PM by mlb.
Subject Author Posted

Current events in Israel

Alyssa Sonnenblick May 15, 2018 11:07AM

Re: Current events in Israel

Meshulam Gotlieb May 16, 2018 06:17PM

Re: Current events in Israel

Shalom Z. Berger May 24, 2018 06:40AM


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