Thursday, December 6, 2012

Laughter is the Best Medicine

This past week the Palestinian Authority took to the UN to apply for a non-voting, observer status recognition.  Their bid for this upgraded status within the eyes of the United Nations was overwhelmingly approved this past Thursday.  Our Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, responded with the approval to build 3,000 new homes throughout the areas of: Jerusalem, Judea, and Sameria.

Following this approval of upgraded status in the UN, I could see and hear the celebrations coming out of the Arab neighborhood across the road from my yishuv (village).  Gun fire, fire works, music.  By the way, how does gun fire support peace?

For the past several nights I've been able to see low flying Israeli fighter jets and helicopters circling the Judean desert.  They have been so low that it feels like I could look up and be able to see the pilot's faces... wave hello... share a cup of coffee.  The noise of 6 low flying fighter jets, if you've never been around them before, is loud enough to stop conversation and rattle my apartment windows.

Thank Gd, this doesn't scare me anymore.  In fact, it makes me proud of our country and our army.  The world continues to condemn every move Israel makes.  Over and over again.  The Palestinian Authority and the United Nations have continually been the road blocks for peace.  What right does the UN have to tell Israel to stop building on our own land?

I've been reading in the news about how Israel has road blocked the peace process.  Outrageous!  It's impossible for me to wrap my mind around the idea of this.  How are we the bad guys here?  We're victims of terror, rocks, fire bombs, rockets, gun fire.  We respond with caution, preciseness, and state of the art technology like the Iron Dome to protect our own citizens, our cities, our borders, our sovereignty.

Syria, which borders Israel to the northwest, is currently building GAS CHAMBERS to kill their own people and the UN is silent.

Iran is clearly building nuclear weapons.  You know it.  I know it.  Everyone knows it.  They openly talk about the destruction of Israel and America.  Yet the world tip toes around Ahmadinejad's tyrannical regime.

Israel wants to build 3,000 new homes in Jerusalem, her capital city, and the world is in an uproar.

Israel is the ONLY democracy in the middle east.  This is the ONLY place where Christians, Jews, and Arabs can practice their own religious beliefs in freedom.  This is the ONLY place that allows those same free citizens to protest and attack its own army and citizens.  Somehow we are in the wrong here.


Maybe I've never noticed before, but it's noticeable now, the tension walking down the street and passing an Arab.  My natural southern Californian girl instincts are to smile as I pass another person on the street.  I'm still unnerved by the self imposed segregation and avoiding of eye contact.  Still seeing Arabs here working on my yishuv just enforces that feeling.  They may be here just to make a decent living (one that they can't make in their own towns) but I'll tell you what... for me, after hundreds of rockets have been raining down on Israel... I also find myself avoiding eye contact.  Like eye contact is what is going to save us from a war or something?

After so much intensity and frustration I was looking forward to going to a comedy show this past Sunday night.  The Mandell Foundation hosted a fund raiser show called, Comedy for Koby.  Laughter is the best medicine afterall.  To know that I could spend an evening laughing (for my own medicinal purposes) while supporting a foundation as great as this one was a double bonus for me.

In 2001 the Mandell family, of Tekoa, had the most horrific tragedy of the brutal terroristic murder of their oldest son, Koby.  The Mandell family now runs a foundation to support the victims of terror.  Bereaved children and orphans whose parents or siblings have been killed by terrorists can attend a summer camp, Camp Koby and Yosef, of fun and healing.  Bereaved mothers can attend workshops to help nurture themselves physically, psychologically and spiritually.

I laughed until my cheeks hurts.  I laughed until I cried and found release.  In the days following I've found some perspective.  

As I said the show was a hit.  The comedians were positively hilarious for a variety of reasons.  

Each comedian was at this event to support the Mandell Foundation and all the good that they do for bereaved victims of terror.  Each American - Christian comedian should be commended for their bravery of coming to Israel when others cancelled.  You see 2 out of the 3 original comedians cancelled their trip to Israel due to the recent rockets from Gaza.  They should also be commended for attempting to be funny in a place with a VERY DIFFERENT sense of humor.  Remember... this was the Jerusalem show I attended.  Every audience member was Jewish.  Most were religious Jews.

At the end of the show the comedians came back on stage for a brief question and answer period.  What's the first question a Jewish woman would ask these 3 guys?...  "Do you boys need a place for dinner?"  The answer, "I didn't know there were 'cougars' in Israel!"  This is HILARIOUS for a number of reasons.  Most pointedly was the fact that the comedians didn't understand that this Jewish mother was honestly trying to offer a meal to these guys.  Secondly was the fact that instead it was assumed she was a "cougar".  (I don't think half the audience knew what a "cougar" was.)

I feel that this first question and answer is a clear reflection of what is going on in the world around us.  We, as Israelis, are saying one thing and the world hears another.

I know you've been traveling so I'll be considerate and offer you a home cooked meal doesn't mean, "hey young man wanna come over later for sex?"

We want to build houses in our country, our land, our capital... Doesn't mean that we don't want peace.  We've always wanted peace, love, understanding.  To understand means that we must also be understood.  It means that we also have a culture, history, nationality, and language that is specific to us.  Not every place in the world is the same.  Our nation crawled out of the ghettos in Europe and claimed a tiny sliver of, what was then, swamp land and turned it into a thriving nation.  We have every right to exist.  We have every right to defend ourselves.

We want peace, meanwhile Arabs nations around us don't even want us to exist.  

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