As an American descended several generations from citizens who fought in our national War of Independence, it bothers me how often we have to be reminded of what this country was founded on. Books and books and books have been written on this topic, and I don’t intend to go into it here, except to say it seems to me that it is largely because of what we as a people have forgotten that we have chosen as our national leader a man who stands against almost everything that America meant in the beginning.
And now I see that the government of Israel is proposing a national heritage trail to, of all things, help Israel’s youth get in touch with, and hopefully remember, their heritage. It frankly had not occurred to me that the upcoming generation in Eretz Israel needed any such reminder. Isn’t everything too fresh, too raw there to have yet forgotten? What has it been – two, maybe three generations? Don’t today’s 20-somethings have grandparents who fought in Israel’s War of Independence and are still around to remind them? I find it hard to think that the reality of day to living in Israel does not make it nearly impossible to forget why they are there and why they need to stay.
I’m really not making a statement here; I’m asking questions – thinking and wondering out loud, I suppose. It continually amazes me that Israel is the one country in the world that exists because a mass of people sharing the same religion and history were geographically separated from that history and from one another for two millennia, and in the last days have seized the opportunity to reconnect with what had seemingly been lost. It’s amazing that the one thing that kept this people from disintegrating during all that time was their religion. And it’s important to realize that the shared history and the religion were practically inseparable, even though they may have appeared to have been long separated.
I was reminded recently that Eretz Israel has always existed, with or without a Jewish state, but that the State of Israel is meaningless without it’s inherent Jewishness. (Hrmph! Windows Live Writer spell checker doesn’t believe “Jewishness” is a word. I think it should be; somebody tell Redmond that for me, please? Thank you very much.) I find it hard to envision the State of Israel lapsing into just another secular democracy, detached from the heritage of its people. God forbid Israel should become just a nation, like any other!