Photo: Amit Shabi
'How much of what you hear about Israel is actually the truth?'
Photo: Amit Shabi

The truth about Israel

Op-ed: For millions of Jews, Muslims and Christians, Israel is a safe haven in a very scary region.

For the past few weeks, I've had the pleasure of being in Israel and visiting my father. I've had the pleasure of speaking to some of my friends who are currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces and I've had the pleasure of really experiencing Israel. When I say Israel, I mean the real Israel, not the Israel that the media portrays. This experience inspired me to commit even more to Israel Activism, because it is imperative and necessary, especially in the world today.



Let me begin by saying that when most people think of Israel, they think of war, terror and conflict. They think of all these things because that is what the media portrays Israel as: A place of conflict. But, how many of these people have actually visited Israel?


The great Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy."


That is exactly what Israel is, an "oasis of brotherhood and democracy." It is the only legitimate democracy in the Middle East. Israel is a country that protects members of the LGBTQ community, as well as the rights of the women and minorities who live here. Israel is a country that from the very day it was reestablished in 1948, adopted a policy of equality for all. Did you know that in 1969, Israel elected a female prime minister, or head of state, named Golda Meir? This is a feat that some democratic countries, such as the United States, have yet to accomplish.


Now, let's discuss the biggest lie in regards to Israel today, the "apartheid" claim by anti-Zionists. There are people out there who claim that Israel "oppresses Palestinians." Let's look at this claim. First and foremost, these people that claim that Israel is an "apartheid state" need to issue an apology. Not to me and not to Israel, but rather, to all the black South Africans who truly suffered under the former system of apartheid in South Africa. This apartheid legally separated blacks and whites, it discriminated against and treated blacks as second class citizens.


I could write pages and pages debunking this myth, but I will make it simple: The "oppressed Palestinians," who have to go through a security checkpoint to get into Israel, do not live in Israel and have no interest in living there. They live under the control of the Palestinian Authority, which is a different ruling body. It is logical that you have to go through border control and a checkpoint, to go into a different country.


Time to research and visit

Now, if you enter Israel today, if you come and visit, you will see that Muslims, blacks, Jews, Christians and whites, who live in Israel, are all treated as equal citizens. If you go to Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, Hadera, Eilat, or any place in Israel, you will see people of all faiths and backgrounds walking together, shopping together, swimming together, and even hanging out together!


Take time to actually look into Israel and research it, look at how accepting Israel is and how they treat all their citizens equally. There are Arab members of the Knesset today, and there were Arab members in the very first Knesset in 1948. There are Arab judges sitting on Israel's Supreme Court bench, and there has even been an Arab winner of the Miss Israel beauty pageant. There are also Arab soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces, Arabs who serve their country proudly.


When it comes to Israel, there is a lot that is said, but how much of what you hear is actually the truth? How much of what the media says and claims is the truth? It is often said that as long as there is more profit in war than in peace, we will never experience peace. Lies will be spread and hate will be encouraged. People will try to turn us against one another. That is why you should all research more, seek the truth about Israel and visit Israel for yourself. Come talk to the countless number of Muslims, Jews and Christians who consider Israel their home and would never leave, come and see just how great Israel truly is and come and hear the testimonies of all those that love this country and would die for it.


The truth is that Israel isn't perfect, but what country is? The beauty of a democracy is that there is always room for improvement, and it undoubtedly does improve with time. The bottom line however, is that Israel – to millions of Jews, Muslims and Christians alike – is a home, a safe haven, a "rose among thorns," in a very scary region.


This is why we must do all we can to protect Israel, and spread the real truth about what goes on there. We must not do it for ourselves, but for the millions of people who call Israel their home, the same people who would be persecuted in almost any other country in the Middle East. Israel is here to stay.


פרסום ראשון: 03.12.14, 11:36
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