Thursday, July 21, 2005

Chaoter 12

My Quest......

Did I mention I love to read the comments boxes?

Someone has mentioned that there's plenty of antisemitism in the Catholic Church, and while that is more than evident, there is a huge difference in scale between the Episcopal Church and the Catholic Church. It also helps that the guy at the top, though not perfect made it a priority to repair the damage between the Church and the Jews. Canterbury, on the other hand, which can't seem to put together a lucid sentence about anything at all, seems to find all the words it needs when condemning Israel. Antisemitism?.....Welcome to the fact of every Jewish life.

So Passover was marred by this appalling act on Seder night, and the Israelis launched the now infamous Jenin campaign. Soon the horror stories began to mount in the media. A city destroyed, a massacre of huge proportions, innocents dead, and the smell of corpses in the air. I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to believe it, and in the end I didn't have to believe it because most of what the media was peddling was a well orchestrated propaganda campaign on the part of the the Palestinians.

An Israeli reservist, a doctor, published his version of what he had seen, after he read a completely fictitious account in the LA Times. Fifty six Palestinian fighters were killed, and infact this Israeli had treated some of their injured, and 23 Israeli soldiers were killed in an ambush.

This guy was one of the survivors of the ambush in Jenin.

About two months after Sheila McVicar of the BBC had breathlessly informed the world of Israeli "atrocities", the UN and the Palestinians confirmed, there were 56 Palestinian casualties, most of them armed combatants, and although the neighborhood where they were shooting from was in sorry shape, the rest of the city was business as usual.

Of course, the pastor at our Episcopal church didn't let facts intrude on his sermons where we heard endlessly about the vile Israelis, and our terrible president......bla bla bla.... As I was sitting there, I thought......What the HELL AM I DOING HERE? And that was it. I made up my mind, there and then to go to Israel to show my support. I was tired of feeling helpless and everything came to a head. 9/11, Israel, my own life, I needed to make a statement to the world and to myself.

My husband was on the vestry, and said that as soon as his term was up he was out of there. He was fed up as well, and although he was terrified at my choice to go to Israel at a time when it looked very dangerous, he would never have stopped me, because he could see and understand my determination. I had to do this. Deep down inside, I had to do it for my daughters. They needed to see that something important was worth taking a risk for. I remember saying to people, "What's the point of living, if you can't do something that has meaning?" I knew there was risk, but I grew up believing, and still believe, that Israel is always going to be the safest place to be a Jew. Jews go to Israel, period, the end.I was appalled that the ridiculous "Reform" Jews of my area were trying to convince me not to go. I was appalled that the American Jewish community had cancelled their trips, with the exception of the Orthodox.

on the base

I did my web research and discovered a wonderful program, Sar-el. This program, which is run under the auspices of the Israel Defence Forces, brings volunteers from any background or ethnic group to Israel, to do the sort of grunt work reservists would do. This is the "epitome" (smirk alert...) of a luxury vacation: For three weeks, you sleep on a board, you eat the most awful army chow (but it IS kosher), you wear disgusting old IDF uniforms and shoes that don't fit, and you do fascinating work, like take old stuff out of old boxes and put it all into new boxes. And all you have to pay for is your airfare.

I think we were actually doing something useful, but the best part was the look on the beleaguered Israeli soldiers faces. "You paid to come here and do this for us?" It changed my life forever. I've gone twice, and in March I hope to go again.

I know the last few chapters haven't been all that funny, but I hope you are all still getting something out of my story. I promise...The Catholic stuff is coming soon!