Our say

This is Israel

It has been a tense few months in Israeli politics. Much has been reported and opined on in these pages about the ruling coalition’s sweeping judicial reform agenda that has seen the Jewish State’s citizens take to the streets in their tens of thousands.

As the debate becomes ever polarised, fault lies on both sides for refusing to listen to the other. That there may be a case for some reform is lost on its fiercest opponents, while legitimate concerns that the proposals go too far are falling on deaf ears on the other side.

Political battlelines are being drawn – not just in Israel, but throughout the Diaspora as competing visions for Israel take shape.

We only have one Israel and we are one people. We sorely needed something we could all get behind. An example every Jew could look to and say this is “our” Israel.

In the shadow of tragedy, it was provided this week in Israel’s response to the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

Within two days, a 150-strong Israeli rescue delegation was on the ground in Turkey, with a field hospital also on the way. Reports said Israel was also set to provide Syria – an enemy country –

with tents, medication and blankets.

Yet again, the little Jewish State is reaching out, giving without thought of return and proving how it can be a light unto the nations.

This is Israel.

And it will always be Israel because this is her spirit, no matter who may be in government or what political debates are being waged. It is the spirit of the Jewish people, which is why we all feel so connected and invested in our homeland – a visceral pride and love for Israel that informs our passion when arguing our positions.

Those positions may differ but the love for and pride in Israel that underpin them are the same.

This week’s edition also carries a story about the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists calling for dialogue between the opposing sides in the judicial reform debate.

Sometimes all it takes is finding one commonality to start a conversation.

We dearly hope our shared pride in Israel’s humanitarian outreach can be that catalyst.

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