Home > News and politics > Israel: “Living as an example to the world…It is not!”

Israel: “Living as an example to the world…It is not!”

09-May-08 06:06 am EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

Yesterday, Israel celebrated its 60th anniversary.  As a young Christian I was taught that the Jews are "God’s chosen people", a lesson shared with Jewish children.  In my teenage years, curious about what that meant – I asked an older orthodox Jewish friend, who explained it only meant that Jews should live as an example for humanity in the eyes of God.  (Talk about a burden to shoulder.)  And today, I saw a video of the last surviving person (himself a Jew) who was in the room where the Israeli declaration of independence was read 60 years go.  He said that Israel, likewise, was dreamt as being an example to the world, but it has "unfortunately", he lamented, not done so.

I’ve always been glad that my people – the Canadians – don’t share that same expectation.  Yet we’ve shown ever-capable of living up to doing so, when called upon.  Both in wartime and peace, Canada and its people have achieved a great deal.  The nation that brought the world the concept of "peacekeeping" is often regarded with a positive image.  But is Israel really such a disappointment given the challenges that its geography poses?

I guess I’ve never really understood why the so-called Arab states (not being universally Arab) are collectively anti-Israel, historically.  While understanding the historical motives isn’t so difficult, conceptually it’s difficult for a Canadian to imagine knowing nothing but a state of conflict for the better part of an entire century – and longer, as some would say.  At some point, it’s more human nature to want peace isn’t it?  And that always means sacrificing something.  But peace offers so many rewards, including the inevitable promise of a better life.  And then there’s that Christian thing about "turning the other cheek"; hardly a philosophy unknown to Islam.

And yet conflict persists.  But at least there seems to be hope on this anniversary that the end of the conflict is in sight.  Here’s hoping that those hopes are realized by the time Israel is 75!

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Terry Glavin

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