Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Truth About Israel

I have not planned out all my posts about my trip to Israel, but I had some forethought as to how I might write them.  Today's post was not in my plans, it was inspired after observation from afar.  So on one hand this post isn't about my trip, yet on the other it is.  If I had not gone on that trip, making the friends that I have made and learning all that I have,  I may not have had the words to write this.

Yesterday, in Israel a man who lived as a hero, died as one. I did not have the blessing of knowing this man, but I have had the blessing of knowing and being in contact with many who did.  Some of these contacts, I am blessed to call friends.  Some of them acquaintances.  All of them graciously allow me to ask a million questions and glean from them about Israel, Judaism, and Hebrew.  But, I digress.

This man was stabbed by a terrorist and after being critically wounded was able to run after the terrorist and shoot him, stopping him from causing further harm.  That terrorist did not die, he was treated at the scene by Jews and taken to an Israeli hospital. After inflicting injury on a Jew, he was tended to by Jews.

Last week I wrote a post titled, Is Israel Safe, I still stand by my words, with a resounding yes, Israel is safe.
Since social media blew up about this terror attack, I have seen my friends and acquaintances hurting. I watched a live video that displayed the vast amount of people attending the funeral.  I saw the live feed of the funeral.  I saw the family's hurt. I cried with them.

Today I have read numerous articles, listened to interviews, and have seen many posts about this hero. 

In all of this, I see the beauty of unity amidst the storm of pain.

I also see the need for truth.  As I have learned more about this hero, Ari Fuld, I know that he wanted others to see truth regarding Israel too.

G-d began growing in me a love for the Jews, Judaism, Israel, and Hebrew a year and a half ago.  Basically, that means I have a lot to learn and understand, but it does not mean I can't share truth.

The truth is, Israel is the promised land. The truth is, the Jews are G-d's chosen people. The truth is,  learning from my friends about Judaism has expanded my faith.  The truth is, the Hebrew language is amazing.  The truth is, understanding these things will help you know the heart of G-d.  The truth is, we are seeing promises regarding this land and this people being fulfilled.

The truth is, this land is surrounded by enemies.  The truth is, not every person who is not a Jew in Israel or elsewhere is an enemy.  The truth is, there are people out there that do not like the Jewish people. The truth is, news stations twist the truth and often times don't even report what is occurring in Israel.

The truth is, a Jewish man was killed for being a Jew.

And therefore, the truth is we need to stand with Israel, join our Jewish friends in unity, and support them in truth.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Is Israel Safe?

Is Israel safe?  I asked this exact question before I knew I would ever go to Israel.  The answer I received from a Rabbi was, "Israel is more safe than the USA. We live very free lives without fear. It's an incredible feeling."  I could barely wrap my head around this statement.  How is Israel safe?  Israel is surrounded by people that hate the country and hate the Jewish people.  Yet, he is telling me it is safe.  Not only did I pose this question, I have heard it asked many times and the answer is always yes, Israel is safe.

When the Lord laid it on my heart to say yes to going, I sought out the answer to this question again from someone I know and the answer was, "Israel is more safe than any place".  I emailed my friend Josh Hasten as well, his response, "I honestly feel safer here than in any major US city. 100%."  I also frequently asked my pastor Trey Graham this question and his response was yes every time. 

Since traveling to Israel, I am now the one being asked, is Israel safe? 

I left for Israel on April 9, 2018 and returned to the USA on April 20, 2018. During that time the following events occurred in the US:

  • On April 9, 2018 in Gloversville, New York a student shot another student several times with a BB gun.  
  • On April 12, 2018 a man was shot in the stomach in the parking lot of a middle school during a track meet.
  • On April 15, 2018 a freshman at Binghamton University in New York was stabbed to death.
  • On April 15, 2018 in New Orleans three men sexually assaulted two women.
  • On April 20, 2018 a student in Florida was shot in the ankle.
I researched news in Israel during the time frame I was there and found nothing notable.  Yet, in my own country at least 5 crimes took place. 

Now yes, Israel was dealing with and continues to deal with issues with those surrounding her borders, but inside those borders it is safe.

In the evenings after a long, incredible day of
touring my pastor would say "you wanna take a walk?" Whoever said yes would then proceed to walk from our hotel to the Western Wall, which was 2.5 miles.  The first evening I took a walk, we took a different route and it was much longer than 2.5 miles. It was beautiful. We observed the normalcy of Israel and not the sensationalized news of Israel we see in the US news. We saw a pizza delivery driver, a gorgeous park with people spending time together, and we walked through an outdoor mall.

These pictures show the Western Wall. It is an amazing place. The bottom picture depicts a street we walked down on our way back to our hotel. On this very street Trey Graham stated "This is the scary place your friends and family warned you about." In fact it was so scary, I was blessed with a free water and a free juice from two different Arab store owners.

The picture and video seen here was on another walk to the wall.  We stopped at a movie that was playing and witnessed a group of young people blasting music, dancing, and being together in the streets of Jerusalem.

A Rabbi said Israel was safe. My friend Josh Hasten said Israel was safe.  My pastor and friend, Trey Graham said it was safe.  But then, I experienced Israel for myself.
Is Israel safe?  My answer is a resounding yes!