Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Israel and the US: War and Conflict

  It’s difficult for me to even begin to compare Israel and the United States because they are so different. It seems their only similarity is that both are countries founded on a need for freedom of a people. Israel declared its independence in 1948. It’s only 61 years old! While that’s middle age for humans, sixty years for a country translates into infancy. Most of the world views the United States as a young country, yet we have 234 years of independence, having signed the Declaration of Independence in 1775. Israel was founded in the separation of Arab and Jewish nations – Palestine retaining its Islamic faith and Israel becoming mainly Judaic. The Holocaust shook Judaism to its core and the need for an independent nation to protect its people and its faith became apparent. Hatred, though, was already strong: Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq attacked Israel days after it’s founding. Ever since then the Arab nations and Israel have been in conflict. That’s a very brief history of the struggle, but its roots are much deeper and more complex.

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The United States seems to be the polar opposite of Israel. We are a nation founded on differences – the melting pot of different cultures and ideals. There is no one religion and no one voice. Each state is almost like its own country --they’re so unique. We house, as a nation, 306,743,000 people. Israel has only 7,411,500. The religion and most likely the constant strife unite Israel in a way America can never be. Violence here is random whereas in Israel it is political and most likely perpetrated by Palestinian terrorists.

Netta’s family is living in a very confusing place. They’ve gone from complete union of a people to being strangers in a ‘community’ that is very un-welcome to foreigners. Netta noticed at one point that to be Jewish in Israel required almost no effort whereas in America one has to go to temple and seek out that community. Because Israel is so involved in the politics of its nation and constantly at war, the citizens are very aware of the news, although it is biased. In America, even in the midst of the war in Iraq, we are apart from conflicts. It is not fought on our own turf and thus it is easy to forget or misunderstand war. In Israel that is never a possibility.