I know that what I once thought to be true, wasn't necessarily so, and I know that I was young and naive and ignorant when I came, and I know that we have a tendency to be nostalgic about the past, and to see it in a better light than it probably was. But still, it was better (At least if you were a secular Jew.)
Back then, we sang Hevenu shalom aleichem - we have brought you peace - and even meant it... Back then we sang Shir la'shalom (a song for peace) and even believed it... Back then we thought our democracy was as strong as strong could be, and relegated fascism to other distant regimes.
When I came to Israel, I thought I was coming to a country that embraced democracy, a country that valued equality, and freedoms. I thought the leaders of my new country would not lash out when they encountered diversity. I thought the society was one that encouraged the voices of different peoples, from different backgrounds, ethnicities and religions to be sounded and heard. I thought that its people knew what racism, discrimination and persecution can lead to and why we must make sure it never occurs on our shores. I thought that my country would not only excel in scientific and creative initiatives, inventions and development, but also in the expression of values such as mutual caring, social and economic justice, community, solidarity.
The country in which I now live is focused on division, separation, and fear. The leaders of my country are focused on proposing law after law after law that aim to curtail freedoms, quash human rights, suffocate voices, negate anyone that is not Jewish. The country in which I live is becoming uglier and uglier. The country in which I now live is tiring, and angering, and frustrating. So frustrating.
How many petitions can I sign against draconian Knesset proposals to curtail yet another freedom?
How many emails can I send out to friends warning about this dangerous law proposal or that one?
How many news articles can I read that discuss another attempt, proposed by MKs from Yisrael Beitenu, the Likud, and Kadima, to do away with our democracy ?
How many blog posts can I write to protest the ugly country we have become?