Why Israel Education is Important for Jewish Youth
Today the majority of Jewish people in the diaspora are lost and confused about their own homeland. Have you ever heard about Theodor Herzl, about Ze'ev Jabotinsky, or about Moshe Dayan? They are three of the most important people in our shared history. It is imperative for us - Jewish Youth - to be better educated on Israel’s past.
To accomplish this means becoming more involved and having a sense of ownership, of engagement, with our Jewish state. We have to take individual responsibility in defending our country against the lies we are accused of by the world. Every person must study our great nation and it's history, not because someone tells you to, but on your own volition because you seek knowledge and want to learn.
August 23, 1929. Does this date sound familiar? On this day, the Hebron Massacre took place...there were acts of torture and violence - 67 innocent civilians were murdered. On that same day, a similar massacre took place in Tzfat, where 18 Jews were killed.
Copyright © Hatem Moussa. AP
Gaza...when I mention this name, what comes to mind? Most likely the association with the words war and terrorism.
Well, when I hear Gaza I immediately think of August 2005. Why? This is a date that every Jew across the globe should know. Ten years ago, Ariel Sharon, then Prime Minister of Israel, presented a plan to disengage all Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip. This was one of the most difficult times in recent Israeli history - a time that would leave a mark on the collective Israeli conscious and soul.
If someone asks you why you support Israel, why you support a country that “kills Palestinians children" as they are not terrorists, they are just kids, why you support an Apartheid State, what do you say? Do you know the answer to those questions? No. And for that is why I am bringing this up.
There are so many people that say that they stand with Israel - and that’s great - but in order to complete this idea, you must know how to respond to at least one of the very pervasive questions that I asked above. When someone spouts false information about Israel, you will be able to stand up with confidence, with facts and with truth on your side to defend our country, our nation.
Aside from learning about the creation of the State of Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we also have to understand the complexity of the current situation in Israel.
Being knowledgable about history is one thing, knowing the current geopolitical situation, facts on the ground and the day-to-day lives and struggles of the Israeli people is a different level in one's education on Israel.
Over the summer, in 2014, our brave soldiers were fighting in Gaza to defend Israel citizens from rockets and attacked through a complex system of tunnels constructed by Hamas and it's collaborators. At the same time anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda accelerated widely, especially in Europe but also in various communities around the world. To highlight the zenith of this overt animosity, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey went as far as to accuse Israel of being a "terror state" and of “creating a wave of terror” during an interview with CNN on July 24, 2014.
The identity of the Jewish people is the State of Israel. Today, and it seems for a while yet to come, we are forced to stand alone against a hostile world convinced that nothing has changed since the days of crusades.
In this light, Jewish history becomes key in understanding who we are as a people today, what we are doing here in the Land of Israel, the challenges faced by Jews living in both Israel and in the diaspora, and to understand the justness and rightness of what we are fighting for and why it’s worth our efforts.
So, let me finish with a reflection for you: If you say “I stand with Israel," then prove it!
Laura Parienti was born in Paris, France but raised in Panama City, Panama. Laura has a huge love for Israel and the soldiers who protect it. To show them this admiration she created an Instagram account named @idflover. Israel is her identity through and through.