You created me.
You taught me the words to Hatikvah.
I drew the Israeli flag with my Crayola crayons.
I was raised on dreams and miracles and hope.
Bombs fell and buses exploded, but there was hope.
I prayed for the peace of Jerusalem.
My Zionism was forged through Sunday School and Summer camp.
Through Youth Group and the March.
I stood in the Kinneret coughing the soot of Poland and Death from my lungs;
Israel’s sand and water freed my soul.
You taught me the words of defense.
I internalized every argument.
I knew every line.
From Washington to Geneva to Detroit,
I fought for the Israel that I believed in.
The Israel of dreams and miracles and hope.
But my Zionist shell suffered.
With an assassination in Tel Aviv.
With a massacre in Hebron.
Touching the wall on the Kotel gives me hope.
Touching the barrier in East Jerusalem shatters it.
As I close my eyes I see the Jerusalem of Gold I was raised on.
But beside it is the uncollected trash and barefoot children of Silwan.
I can no longer separate the two.
As bombs fall again, I pray again for the peace of Jerusalem.
For the peace of Tel Aviv and Lod and Bet Yam.
For the peace of Nablus and Rafa and Bethlehem.
My muscle memory kicks in and I remember all the arguments.
Israel has the right to defend herself.
Hamas uses babies as human shields.
But my Zionist shell is empty, its heart has left.
It was built on dreams and miracles and hope.
You will argue that this was naïve.
You are right.
You will remind me of all the arguments.
But they will each ring hollow.
Not because they are not true, but because my hope evaporated.
God – as I see God – weeps the same for each dead Palestinian as each dead Israeli.
God weeps the same for each dead Muslim as each dead Jew.
At some moments I envy your Zionism.
I envy your certainty.
Because my certainty has fallen away with my dreams of miracles and peace.
And now I am left with the reality that it grows hard to sing Hatikvah when one has no hope left.
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