A couple years back a publisher who signed my (meager) checks asked me how I could justify being so critical of American policy in the Middle East and Israel when I’d never been to Israel. I’d traveled all over creation, never to Jerusalem. I answered that I’d never been to Vietnam or Iraq either, and it didn’t stop me from having opinions about them. Still he had a point. Now that I’m doing this blog his point has gotten even bigger. Well I’m leaving in an hour or two. And about time, too.
I don’t have any grand plans for this trip, I want to bounce around, see it for myself, see the dream, also the despair.
My family didn’t give me Israel dreams when I was a kid, partly because they didn’t travel, period. Still, a family that was extremely close to ours made aliyah in 1967, after the 6-Day War, and we had that connection. I saw pictures of my boyhood pal Michael in uniform on a tank, my mother kept me up on her friends’ writings. It never occured to me to do the Birthright thing when I was young—organizations pay for Jewish kids to go out there, up to age 26. In a sense I’m treating this as a birthright experience at 50. I’m less interested in the politics than the people. I have a few names and I’m going to see where they take me. I’m thankful to the readers of this blog for finally getting me off my duff. Shalom.