Someone asked me what I love about Israel. I was speechless.
It’s not that I don’t love anything about Israel. It’s not that I don’t love Israel at all.
I think what it is… When people ask me where in Israel I live, I say Jerusalem. And then I groan as their faces glow up and they dreamily respond how amazing that is and how much they’d love to live in Jerusalem. My groaning is masked by a stoic face (at least I hope) and I respond – mostly in my own head – yeah, well, sometimes it’s better to stay away from what you love.
Jerusalem becomes unholy once you actually live in it. And not just because it becomes ‘everyday’ which is a lot of what unholy means. It’s also because you actually get to know it; the dirt in the streets in the form of miniskirts, the two-legged animals that roam around. It’s a holy place if you don’t make it the place where you eat, sleep and shit.
Maybe that’s why diaspora is actually subconsciously appealing at times. Israel is becoming what Jerusalem has become for me. As the ideology melts from the forefront of my reasoning, I’m left cold and slightly discomforted with the land before me. This is Israel: the dirt, the smiles; the warmth, the doubt. The further away from it I am, the more appealing it becomes. Another Jewish paradox. Another love-hate relationship.
As funny as this sounds, it’s true for me: As hard as it is for me to hate Israel, is as hard as it is sometimes to love it.