Israel on the Sound: What can I do from Seattle?

israelsound

How can an Israeli transplanted in Seattle support the Jewish State from so far away? Nurit Asnash ponders that question and comes up with an answer.

By Guest Writer: Nurit Asnash.

Sirens wailed and it looked like 4th of July in Israel sky as hundreds of rockets were fired, non-stop, on a daily basis for the past two weeks. As some rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system while flying through the air, it looked as festive as fireworks. Some rockets landed in homes and public areas. In total contrast, we had a laid-back, sunny summer day with clear blue skies here in Seattle. Life is good in Seattle.

While my kids are playing at the pool or the park, children in Israel and Gaza have been living in fear and terror.

As an Israeli and a Jew, I’ve been glued to the news. Reading articles, digesting updates from various organizations, and watching videos on Facebook. I can only imagine the living hell that Israelis and Palestinians are going through these days. And the poor kids… While my kids are playing at the pool or the park, children in Israel and Gaza have been living in fear and terror. The rockets do not discriminate – they hit Jews, Muslims, Arabs, Bedouins, soldiers and civilians, leftists and right-wingers, alike … The rockets don’t care who’s who and whether they support the Israel or not. Heck, Hamas rockets even hit places in Gaza!

Living miles away from Israel, I cannot stop thinking of what can I do to help.

Living miles away from Israel, I cannot stop thinking of what can I do to help. What can I do for my 92-year-old grandma in Rehovot? How can I support my mother in Rishon and my in-laws in Haifa from afar? What can I do for my uncle in Arad or my best friends in Kfar Saba and Be’er Sheva?

Seeing photos and videos of millions of people in Europe protesting violently and hatefully against Israel and the Jews brought a strong need to go out and show my support for Israel and for Jews around the world. Then, StandWithUs sent an email about a solidarity rally.

kids

The Israeli community had been discussing the solidarity rally on Facebook and people shared their thoughts about whether they will participate or not. Not everybody supports the current government, not everyone wants to defend every word that Prime Minister Netanyahu says, some people are left-wing, some right-wing, some are pacifists, and some prefer to pray… Everyone has their own approach and political views. One person claimed StandWithUs is a “supremacist organization” and another feared it’ll be a “nationalistic pep rally for war”. Some thought a rally won’t help anyone anyway.

I had thought a lot about the nature of the rally but when I got a message from my friend in Israel, I had no doubt in my mind that I needed to participate. It said:

“תצלמי את ההפגנה ותעלי לפייסבוק שאעשה שיתוף. כולם פה זקוקים לחיזוקים”

“Take photos of the rally and post them on Facebook so I can share them. Everyone here needs support.”

I realized that participating in the rally had nothing to do with my personal views, my political affiliation, or my ego. My people back in Israel need support and to know we care. Morale is low, they feel alone, they see the hateful, violent protests all over the world and they think they are the most hated nation on this planet, as well as one in great danger.

Going to the rally was about showing Israelis that they are not alone.

Going to the rally was about showing Israelis that they are not alone. That they have friends in the US who care about their safety. That while they see in the news the Hitler-like, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, rallies against Israel and Jews all around the world, there are people who do love them, unconditionally (even if they disagree with the current government).

I’m so glad I went. It was a wonderful, peaceful, positive, supportive rally. Hundreds of people showed up! With flags and signs, singing Hatikvah and the US anthem, we strengthened and encouraged one another. We were happy to see friends and acquaintances. It made us feel part of strong community. There was good energy in the park that day even though a few dozen individuals were protesting against Israel only a few feet away from us.

Nurit and a few friends sending their love and support across the miles.

Nurit and a few friends sending their love and support across the miles.

For me, to support Israel publicly at this time also means to support the peaceful people in Gaza who want to live a better life and be free from Hamas but don’t have the power to do so. The IDF is fighting for them too. This operation could be their chance too to have a better life and better leadership, one that builds playgrounds and plans fun summer camps for their children.

I uploaded the photos I took to my Facebook page and shared it with my family and friends in Israel. It brought happiness to their hearts. It made them feel loved and cared about.

Back at home, I uploaded the photos I took to my Facebook page and shared it with my family and friends in Israel. It brought happiness to their hearts. It made them feel loved and cared about. It is a powerful experience when everyone involved feels good about doing the right thing—supporting peace in a positive way, while bringing strength and love to those who need it the most – our friends and family in Israel.

 Nurit Asnash is a local producer of Israeli cultural events and an active member in the Israeli community.

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