Reporting from Israel: Ran Bar-Yoshafat
A group of people from Europe decided to deal with the biggest problem of the world today. No – not Iran, a country that is trying to get nuclear weapons, kills gay people, not allow women to have any rights and wants to kill everyone who is not exactly like them. No, it is not Syria, where over 10,000 people have been murdered, and the slaughter of civilians continues unchecked every day. No, it is not their goal to address the different rampages of genocide that are happening in various countries in Africa. No, it is not Hamas rule over the Palestinian people in Gaza, where the terror is on both sides – shooting at innocent Israelis while hiding behind innocent Palestinian children. It is none of the above. It is – who else? – ISRAEL!
So, like my government said – I thank you, dear “peace activist”, for deciding to come and criticize my country. Wait – did I say criticize? I wish; what you are doing is demonizing me. You see, dear “peace activist”, when your country allows Muslims to actually dress like Muslims (it is called freedom of religion), when your country stops killing its OWN citizens when they protest in riots, where not only did the police blatantly use excessive force, but the PEOPLE themselves killed, stole, and burned cars of other innocent people who had nothing to do with them — then, you should find the time to look at how I deal with people who try to explode on me.
Some countries in Europe have a king. Yes, the head of state in that country is a king. No, it is not 1012, it is 2012. That is the situation in many democratic countries such as Belgium, Denmark, England, Spain, Sweden, Norway… the list continues. But they don’t like my democracy, the only democracy in the Middle East, because it is not following their standards. Now, I know, and I hope whoever is reading this knows, that the king in the countries above is just a figure, and not actually running the state. But what if you don’t? What if that is the only information you hear about these countries? That is how I feel when Europeans criticize my country – not connected to the reality on the ground.
I think a short history lesson is in place. You see, unlike the Belgian people, whatever that means, the Jewish people actually have a culture of 3,500 years in the land of Israel, with non-stop continuity on the land, despite different empires that expelled most of the Jews time and time again.
We did not take anyone’s land; we came home. I speak the same language my ancestors spoke 3,500 years ago, I eat the same food, live where they lived. The name “Palestine” was given to the area after the Romans took over the land, to deprive it of its Jewish identity as punishment for daring to rebel to protect our homeland. Under the British Mandate, the Palestine Post was the name of the local Jewish newspaper. The Palestine Bank was the Jewish bank. Why am I saying this? Not to prevent the Palestinian people to have a right to be whatever they want to be – but so that the people in Belgium, France, and other countries will understand that I did not take anyone’s land, I am simply dwelling in my home.
The most amazing thing is that Israel, as the home for the Jewish people, is not only a home for the Jews. Everyone who is a citizen of Israel (and that is a crucial point) has full equal rights – no matter what religion, ethnicity, skin color or gender. The only country in the Middle East where Palestinians have FULL equal rights is Israel. The only place in the Middle East where Muslims have full equal rights is yet again, Israel.
Dear “peace activists”, you complain about the fact the Israel is checking people who enter its borders. People who are not citizens of Israel. Well, please, enlighten me; is there any country in the world that does not check people when they enter? Can I come to your country without going through airport security? Can I please have full civil rights in your country? And if not, does that make you an apartheid state?
With all due respect, you need to take a long hard look at how you treat your own people, your citizens, and your heads of state, before you judge how my country tries to balance security issues and human rights, with people who are not citizens of my country and call repeatedly for its destruction. When you say you don’t like my country and that it is not a democracy, and yet you live in a country with a king and with less freedom of religion, well dear peace activists, you are a hypocrite. I am not sure you can understand this so I am going to write it in ways for you to understand – a way suitable for the child that you are: I am rubber, you are glue, and every lie you say about me comes back and sticks to you.