Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What I Saw in Israel Nine Months Ago

Given the ever-saddening situation unfolding in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel, I thought I'd dig out my March, 2008 editorial about what I called the broken promise land. You can't post a Facebook update about Israel, much less an editorial in the HuffPo, without getting people fired up on both sides. Israel—and you could easily argue, Jews—inspire a passionate discourse. Much of it based in fair dialogue and debate. But, unfortunately, some is couched in a disdain for any Zionist position, no matter how moderate. And some of it is outright antisemitic.

I was fresh from my trip in March of this year when I wrote the piece. While in the country, it was also a time of building tension, with rockets coming from Hamas into Israeli neighborhoods. And near the end of my trip, in retaliation for the 100+ victims of the IDF's strikes in Gaza, a young Palestinian man walked into a Jerusalem Yeshiva and shot eight students dead.

I've refined and nuanced some of my thoughts and views since my visit and this piece. But overall, it sums up both my attraction to the region, as well as the complexities of appreciating the many sides of the age-old conflict and its modern incarnation.

Here is the piece, as it appeared on the Huffington Post.

The gallery of my photos from the trip is here.


Above: East Jerusalem boys avoid a security patrol, March 2008 (photo: Raymond L Roker)

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