The best way to learn about a new culture is to speak to a local. They have the insight and experience that an outsider would never have.
Earlier this month, Israeli actress/ producer Noa Tishby published her first book. The Tel Aviv native seeks to understand and explain Israel as it is, without relying on the flashy headlines or the half truths. Using her firsthand experience, she speaks of Israel, both past and present, as it is, and not how some see it or wish it could be.
What I love about this book is how down to earth and accessible it is. Tishby‘s voice is that of the average person, not the academic or historian who usually writes about this topic. That, I believe, provides an opportunity for a dialogue that should have happened long ago.
If you only read two chapters, I highly recommend chapters on BDS and the virulent anti-Israeli sentiment (which is really antisemitism). Even for those who are well versed on the topic, it was an eye opener.
It has been said that art and music have healing properties. Whether it is healing on a personal level or a cultural level, music and art have the power to bring people together and remind us of our common humanity.
Lana Del Rey is one of the headliners of the Meteor Festival in Tel Aviv. The three-day long musical festival is scheduled to be held from September 6th to September 8th. Not surprisingly, there has been a backlash from those who believe that she should pull out. Her response is as follows:
“I understand many of u are upset that we’re going to Tel Aviv for the Meteor festival, I understand your concern I really get do. What I can tell you is I believe music is universal and should be used to bring us together.”
While I am not a fan of her music, I appreciate that she understands that music transcends all boundaries and labels. I also very much appreciate that she not giving into the lies about Israel that many believe to be truth.
Thank you, Lana Del Rey.
P.S. Did you hear about the Israeli startup IceCure that has developed a treatment to freeze cancer cells? I wouldn’t be so quick to believe the lies about what Israel has or hasn’t done.
“A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”-Vladminir Lenin
Recently, Lorde decided to cancel her summer 2018 concert in Tel Aviv, bowing to the pressure from anti-Israel activists.
Her decision bothers me for two reasons: the first is that music is music is music. Music brings us together. It bleeds through the political and social boundaries of class, race, religion, etc. Second is that she fell victim to the haters whose only goal is to see Israel wiped off the map and her citizens either murdered or forced into exile.
Pallywood has won once again. Pallywood for those unaware is the purposeful creation of fake news to create a myth that Israel is the big bad in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Palestine is the innocent victim.
What’s worse than the lies being spread is the fact that millions around the world believe the lies. A rather sad example of this is the recent UN resolution in which most of the member countries voted against the US moving their embassy from its current location in Tel Aviv to a new location in Jerusalem.
I suggest Lorde and every other musician who is thinking about cancelling their upcoming concerts in Israel re-think their decisions and do their homework. Her decision shows (at least from my point of view), that hate and prejudice still rule and that human dignity and mutual respect/understanding are still being forced from the spotlight.
My regular readers know that I regularly disagree with everything Donald Trump has done since he took office last year.
Yesterday, he did something that I kind of, sort of, maybe agree with. He announced that the US will not only recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, but also that at some point in the future, the US Embassy will move from it’s current location in Tel Aviv to a new location in Jerusalem.
I have been fortunate enough to visit Israel twice in my life. It is a beautiful country with warm and friendly people and food that is beyond delicious. I encourage anyone who has not been there to go. It will be an eye opening and life changing experience.
As much as I want to applaud Mr. Trump for finally doing something right, I can’t. Something tells me that he is a) doing this without thinking it through, as he has done in the past and b) only making this announcement to please his base, instead of doing what is right for the country. His base, I might add, is partially made up of white Evangelical Christians. Some of them believe that the modern state of Israel exists to fulfill a biblical prophecy in which the Jewish people convert to Christianity. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am not changing my religion anytime soon.
As far as I am concerned, Jerusalem is and will always be the capital of Israel. It is a beautiful city brimming with life, history and spirituality. And it will always be the spiritual home of the Jewish people. Period.
Let me begin by asking a question. Based upon the picture above, can you guess the city?
C. Tel Aviv
If your answer was C, then you are correct.
Let me tell you about the time I spent in Israel.
I have been there twice in my life. The first visit was as a teenager, the second was ten years later.
Israel is a small country, it’s no bigger than New Jersey. But in it’s compactness lies it’s greatness.
The food is amazing. Instead of McDonalds and Burger King at every rest stop, they have falafel and schwarma. Breakfast is not just cereal and milk or a bagel with cream cheese. It’s salad and tuna and eggs.
The people are very friendly and as diverse as any large city in the United States. The beaches are absolutely stunning. Walking barefoot into the Mediterranean sea while the North East Of the United States was engulfed in winter was heaven.
My two favorite places to visit were the Western Wall and Masada. There is an energy around the Western Wall, as if there is a direct line to G-d. I was fortunate to climb Masada at dawn. It was one of the most difficult experiences of my life, but also the most rewarding. I have never seen a more beautiful sunrise than the one at Masada.
It’s no secret that the media distorts many things, including what is going on in Israel. There are many people who would happily see Israel wiped off the face of the earth.
I am going to end this post with a challenge. Regardless of your feelings or beliefs about Israel, I challenge you to visit Israel. See with your own eyes and make your own judgement. Whether or not your mind is changed, only time will tell. But until you walk a mile in another person’s shoes, you can never truly understand them.