Tity and the Exile - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Yariv
    • 27.05.05 | 23:47 (IDT)

    Tity, I'm very glad that you are perfectly comfortable in Greece and I wish you many more years there if that is your choice. But, respectfully, I think you are the perfect example of what happens to a people when it has been exiled from its land for 2000 years. Your sense of Jewish identity has become so secondary to you that you've wholeheartedly adopted another culture (a perfectly respectable one at that), namely a sense of Greek identity. But you surely can't help but admit that your sense of Greek identity, as heartfelt as it may be, is the product of a historical accident. Because had your Jewish forefathers decided to settle in France, you'd no doubt consider yourself French. Would you be Icelandic if they had chosen Iceland? Or Arab if they had settled in Tunisia? So this deeply felt sense of Greek identity of yours is in fact as shallow as an almost random decision made one or two or five generations ago? You call that identity? At best, if you still consider yourself a Jew (as you seem to), you choose to live as a religious minority elsewhere than in the reborn ancestral home of the Jewish nation. If that's something you're comfortable with, more power to you. For my part, I see Zionism as an effort to "correct" a historical anomaly, namely the forced exile of the Jewish nation from its land two millenia ago. As a Jew in Israel, I speak the language that is closest to my roots, I live in the land that holds the most significant history for the people to which I belong, and I have a feeling of living in the center of modern Jewish existence. I don't need to preoccupy myself with thoughts of overt or hidden antisemitism on the part of my host country and I do my best to make sure that Israel strives toward the highest ideals of tolerance and justice (always room for improvement but we're making headway). When we celebrate national holidays, they are holidays with which I identify and I don't need to exclude myself from experiencing holidays as I no doubt would were I to live elsewhere. When I look at my flag, the Star of David has resonance with me. The cross on the Greek flag (no disrespect intended at all) or the British or Danish or Swedish flag would simply not do it for me if I remained honest with myself. I also have the very strong feeling that my descendants will have a far greater probability of holding onto their Jewish identity than if I were to live as a member of a religious minority elsewhere, however attached I would be to my "adoptive" culture. My definition of Zionism is a political movement supports the existence of a national entity in which I can feel all of these things and doesn't intend to coerce anyone in joining us against their will. If it doesn't work for you, by all means, good luck to you. Come and visit sometime.

    from the article: Think before you sing `Hatikva'
    First published 00:00 27.05.05 | Last updated 00:00 27.05.05
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