Everywhere I go I talk to Israelis. For the last 16 months since making Aliyah, I try to connect with real Israelis (that would be home-grown Sabras and people living here for more than 30 years) and ask them all the same question: ma karah (what happened)?
What happened in the last 30-something years since I was an American Jewish teenager living in the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood of Jerusalem with an Israeli family? What happened to the legendary Israeli spirit, the Israeli pride, the Israeli strength, the Israeli can-and-must-do attitude?
I ask everyone - haredi, hiloni, national religious, gay hairdressers, taxi cab and bus drivers, the clerk at the market, the vendors at the shuk, teachers, children...everyone who I can get to pay a moment's attention: I ask them - What happened to Israelis, MY Israelis? Why is everyone so defeated? I ask and ask and can't get a good answer, an answer that rings true.
Finally, a thoughtful young lady listened to my story about living here in the '70's and answered my question. "So, what happened here? Ma karah po?”
“It’s the degradation,” she said simply. A year’s worth of other answers – long and short, bitter and philosophical, resigned and resentful – rolled away in a moment and I saw it all clearly. It’s the degradation, stupid! Israelis have been systematically degraded from without AND from within, and it all started with Oslo and the "presumptive close," that we would give away land for "peace," that we came upon our land in some illegitimate way, that we owed the court of world opinion some sort of answer and worse yet, some sort of compensation for our crimes. Little by little, day by day, editorial by editorial, speech by speech by left-leaning self-hating Jews inside and outside The Land, politician by politician who have raped this country over and over again...it's the degradation, stupid.
Degredation leads to depression, a sense of hopelessness, the "ma la'asot" ("what can you do?") attitude that you find everywhere. We sit and watch it all happen to us, and say, "ma la'asot," becoming victims of our own listlessness and overwhelming exhaustion.
WE HAVE BOUGHT THE BIG LIE ABOUT OURSELVES - NOT ONLY DID WE BUY IT, BUT WE CONTINUE TO PAY FOR IT - WITH INTEREST - EVERY DAY.
How can a degraded people fight? How can a degraded people re-discover their strength and self-respect? How can a degraded people rise up against the elements within our own society bent on our own self-destruction???
First things first - Come out of denial!!! As HaShem led us out of "de Nile" (ha), may He also wake us up and lead us out of the denial we are living in - and once denial has been overcome, one must have a new reality to attach one's self to. How about trying this one on for size - this is OUR LAND, anyone who dosen't like it can leave now, and anyone who lives here who works to undermine the Land and the People of Israel is a traitor and should be treated like one - from the Prime Minister to the garbage collector and everyone in-between. Screw the court of world opinion and the horse it rode in on.
Wake up my Israelis! Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights - as that other prophet, Bob Winston Marley sang - don't give up the fight! Remember WHO you are and what WE are and for the sake of everything we've all been through from the beginning until now - STOP ACCEPTING THE DEGRADATION!