I departed for Israel with great hopes and anticipation, and most of all in search of some enlightenment or even resolution to my inner dilemma. On one hand, watching the news from afar, as a Jew who has gone through own prosecution, I feel torn to see other Jews seemingly disrespectful of the rights of the others. I am not a believer in “do on to others what has been done to you”. As history has repeatedly illustrated, such an approach and way of thinking lead to a dead end, often literarily. And yes, as a Jew, I feel powerful commonality to other Jews, to our ancient culture, traditions, amazing heritage and history. And so, hearing of the wrong done by Israelis, even if under the claims for its own right of survival, I feel torn. I question my obligations to the Jewish people and to Israel as our tiny country. This is a truly raw place to be for me, one who has experienced mistreatment and persecution from the others who claimed that Jews are inferior, exploitative, greedy, traitorous, manipulative, power hungry, not to be trusted and deserving of becoming a second grade citizens, or better yet of expulsion from what used to be also their own homeland, one for which they fought and in which they died in horrid death, in millions. However, while very proud to be a Jew, proud of our ability to persevere at any cost and against all odds while preserving our honor, identity, heritage, cultural pride and humility, but also as a political refugee and a survivor of anti-Semitic persecution, I feel my onus is to the humanity at large.
I deem that humanity can survive and overcome our differences and challenges which stand in the way of our evolution into better and more thoughtful and compassionate beings. However, at least in my view, while respectful of our own identity and heritage, we also need to strive to embrace those who represent diverse, even contrary backgrounds or perspectives. This is much to ask of a humanity we are currently. Yet this very humanity has overcame many other obstacles and came to dominate the planet that is our shared home. And truly, do we have a viable alternative? Are we truly willing to loose our shared home?
Below if a photo which hung over the bed in my suite, within a truly charming hotel, one which acts as a guest house, a cultural institution and a library merged into one. I pointed this out because culture is so deeply rooted in the Israeli society. As a matter of fact, it has existed as the core of the Jewish tradition throughout ages, through the bright, the darkest and the most gruesome times the Jewish people have experienced. Whether interpreted by me correctly or not, the image in this photo screams loud and clear to me. All I see in it are disjointed parts of human body blown up and spread throughout a desert. Please tell me I am wrong? So, do imagine the state of the mind of the one who has consciously chosen this kind of an artwork as one to be hung in the otherwise most cozy and truly welcoming a guesthouse.
Just for the contrast, a dramatic one if I may say so, on the right side is a photo of an artwork that hung over my bed in an Eindhoven hotel room, a nice establishment located in the very main square of this city in the Netherlands. I shall allow you to reflect upon the state of mind of not just the decorator, the hotel management, but the setting at large, an attitude people of a European country can afford to indulge in. This is not a criticism at all. This is a luxury people of any stable country ought to be privileged to enjoy.
Is this the only way left for achieving an oddly final in its resolution but yet undisturbed form of a peace?
I would like to culminate this series with two images. I believe they are saturated with potent meanings which projects two extreme ideas, objective and visions illustrating humanity’s ancient hopes and beliefs but also the very beliefs and mind manipulating brainwash that shows how far the humanity has yet to grow and evolve before we can find within ourselves the wisdom to overcome the walls of our creation.