Through what I have listened to and seen, I am increasingly aware that Israel, politically, architecturally, and emotionally, is a country of walls.
Today, I saw a check point for the first time. Most of the wall is not a cement structure; it is a set of three fences separated by obstacles. First, a fence topped with barbed wire, followed by a sand path, a road that is exclusively for security vehicles, more sand, then another two barbed-wire fences. The sand is meant to catch foot prints. They are monitored by video tapes and are mostly flawless. This seems like a high case of paranoia.
But this paranoia is understandable. In a post-Holocaust society to a population most oppressed by the Holocaust, you would expect a sense of isolation. Isolated doesn’t begin to describe the feelings experienced. I’ve heard horrendous stories of racial oppression towards these people. An Israeli professor expressed to us that he desires a world where a Jewish state is not necessary. But, in his opinion, right now, the Jewish people need a safe place to live. Does that need to be exclusive? I don’t think so, and it doesn’t seem like most of our professors feel that way. He also spoke of his peaceful mother-in-law, a women who hates to see war, but is happiest when Israel is in one. It brings the country together as Jews. So often in Israel, they loose the sense of Jewish unity because of where you come from.
We’ve been told that Israel considers itself the 51st state of America by some. That deeply disturbs me. Possibly because of the truth, in that so much of our policies are shaped by Israel, but also shape their state of life.
The Israeli professor was confident in saying that the political mindset was Israel vs. the World. I feel sorry that they feel that way, but sort of understand it. This puts me in yet another conflicting position, what do these walls provide Israel? I certainly don’t support home demolitions or settlements, and I don’t support a lot of Israel politically. But I support their concerns and desire for a safe land.