I recently spent a few days in New York City. While this was actually nothing out of the ordinary for me, what I experienced, was.
My trips usually deal with speaking and discussing the various security issues occurring in Judea and Samaria. During this most recent trip I met a number of very special Jewish college students who were very much involved in the “Zionist” cause as they termed it.
What made it special was that these kids were very much against not only a Jewish presence in our historical heartland, but the concept of a Jewish state also. Even more extraordinary, more appalling, more devastating, this group was quite diverse, they came from religious homes, “Israeli” homes, and “Mizrachi” (Syrian and Egyptian to be precise) homes as well as the usual main stream “Federation” homes.
I listened to their arguments, their passions and their claims against Israel. The common denominator was that they had the majority of their facts twisted and perverted beyond belief. That and the claim that they are all ardent Zionists and lovers of Israel.
Naftali Bennet happened to be the focus that particular day, and their shouts against the “Occupation” their battle cry.
I decided not to argue with them, but discuss the issues with them, not as “who I am” or “what I do”, but as someone who was interested in what they had to say. It was great and I truly enjoyed the dialogue. They had valid points, at least in their minds as to what they think has to be done to bring peace, and of course the “crimes” committed daily by us Jews in the hood.
After showing another side of the picture, and pointing out how much they are missing due the fact that they do not listen to the statements made in Arabic, nor read Arab media, I was able to open their eyes and supply them with many facts of which they were not aware. Watching the realization that they have been duped and mislead regarding the “situation” in Israel flood their faces brought joy to me.
More important, was seeing just how many kids, who supposedly have a strong identity and connection due to their “ethnic” upbringing are now being targeted by anti-Israel “Jewish” organizations and their questionable sources of funding.
On the other hand, when I asked the “opposing” Pro Zionists to defend their positions, the majority were unable to hold a match to the well-manipulated and deceived protestors. They couldn’t tell me why we the Jewish people/ Israel have rights to be in Judea and Samaria, they barely knew any history, and more disappointing were the statistic and info sheets they read from, received from some of the better known pro-Israel Israel college organizations. Names available upon request.
In short, the stench of a wide spread epidemic of ignorance among both sides.
I admit and am proud to belong to the side that supports the right of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria. But I am continuously amazed at the ignorance of so many, especially our future “Diaspora leaders” who claim to side with me in my convictions and opinions.
More alarming is the fact that due to their ignorance they are prime targets to be inducted into a plethora of anti-Israel movements, that infect mainstream US Jewry, this being accomplished by deceit, misinformation and manipulation.
Even more saddening is the fact that so many of their very pro-Zionist parents do not care enough to educate them or expose them to the needed knowledge as they go forth in combat on most US college campuses.
Sure, they donate to the pro-Israel Advocate organizations that attempt to fight this disease, but that is the limit for most. Feeble attempts at defense, rather than fighting an enemy that looks to end a Jewish future in our land, an enemy that would take their “Amusement Park” away, so many call Israel, from their vacation itineraries.
I have started visiting campuses, synagogues and other Jewish groups on my own time, just to listen and to learn what they do not know. There is no doubt the numbers are growing. It would seem that there should be an alternative quantitative result to the recent Pew poll, not only as to how many Jews are leaving the fold, but how many are being yanked out by the ever growing anti-Israel groups working the campus turf and “mainstream” Jewish haunts.
Not to sound too morbid, but we can note too many similarities to the Jewish communities in Europe upon hearing of Nazi intent and efforts against the Jews… only to wake up too late.
One of the reasons Israel was created was to supposedly protect the Jewish people all over the world from our enemies. I am sorry to say that the Israeli government is not standing up to the challenge, and is actually an accessory to this crime, by trying to be too P.C. and not answering the calls of so many young Jewish students who travel here, who actually yearn to learn about their history and connection to the land. Rather than show them historical facts and making their Hebrew School teachings a reality, our government wearing the hat known as the Jewish Agency bends to the whims of cash-laden Federations who insist on limited travel and knowledge, and advocate for a new Muslim, Jew-free entity within the borders of the State of Israel.
I heard with my own ears, at the General Assembly of North American Federations, a “Resource Development “ head in the Jewish Agency admit to how proud she was, that after two years in Israel (after Aliyah) she was proud not to have visited sites intimately connected to her past.
Sure, I could just say, the “heck” with it, but I have yet to meet the young Jewish participant on these Birthright and Masa trips who is not interested in seeing their own history and connection to this land, and furthermore is looking to visit the actual places they have only read about and heard about growing up in Hebrew schools and synagogues.
In the real world, Israel has learned that we cannot wait for our enemies to act against us in our existential challenge of being, we must be proactive and act first against our enemies. In the challenge facing our young today who live far from our land, we must do the same. Our arsenal must be re-fit with better education and motivation, with better means to spread true facts. As more and more of these anti-Israel organizations and groups are created and funded by mis-lead and hateful people it is imperative that we become more proactive and not just respond.
Here in Israel more and more of our people are learning and connecting, the same must happen to our young on the other side of the ocean. There is no choice.
Just as our enemies during the first Chanuka wished to pry us from our land, our heritage, and our identity, the same challenge exists today.
The Maccabees joined together in unity to fight this effort. We must mirror the effort, and join together as one, and fight for our kids… all over the world.
It can be done.