I’m very glad to have the opportunity to address you directly – no media, no second hand news, no broken phone. I’d like to tell you a bit about my amazing country – Israel – and it’s people and it’s neighbors. I’m sure you’ve read/heard/seen all kinds of things in your media about us and the conflict here, and if they were your only source of information I can pretty safely assume you dislike us. I’d like to give you some things to think about, things that I hope when thought through thoroughly will bring you to the conclusion that we are not the bad the guys, on the contrary, we are the beacon of light in this crude and brutal piece of the world. I’m hoping that you will relate to what I have to say simply because I truly believe that our nations share the same values.
I’ll talk only of one issue – human rights. Not Jewish rights. Not Palestinian rights. Not Muslim male rights. But human rights. Be it a woman, a gay, a Christian, a black Jew or a Hindu gay woman.
You’ve probably heard from your media that Israel oppresses Palestinian human rights, and that the Palestinians suffer greatly under the Israeli rule. Well, first of all, the first and foremost abusers of Palestinian human rights are the rulers in Gaza themselves. As I write this letter to you, the whole female population of Gaza is being treated as commodity. Honor killing occur on a regular basis, and women, of course, don’t get to choose their partner. All aligned with the Sharia law – the law of Islam.
How can one claim that his human rights are being stepped upon, while abusing – raping, murdering, mutilating – their own daughters, sisters and mothers? Do you think such a person would be frank and truthful about his deeds? Or about anything for that matter?
People who believe that gays should be executed, simply because who they are – can these people even pretend to be judges of what human rights and freedoms are?
Dearest Swede, I’d love to take you on a tour to my wonderful and freedom-loving land. Show you what we have achieved here, and more importantly, introduce you to the people who made it happen. People who value their personal and collective freedom. People who realize, that in order to be accepted and be treated as an equal you have to treat others the same way. People who understand that in order to enjoy freedom, you absolutely must not tread on others’ freedoms. I’d like to spice up my monologue with fun facts which will strengthen my case:
*) The only country in the middle east where Arab citizens enjoy full political freedom (to vote AND get elected) is Israel, which makes sense because we’re the only democracy around here. And if you’re wondering about the ”get elected” part, then yes, there are Arab members in the Israeli parliament!
*) Israel is open to ALL religions, we respect every person, of every faith. Mainly because we respect the person first, and the outcome of that is our respect for what he believes in, be it Islam, Christianity or Buddhism. As long as that person respects those around him, he is most welcome. To back that, we have churches, mosques and synagogues aplenty – no restriction on where they can be built, or who and when one can pray in them. Just a quick reminder – Saudis don’t let non-Muslims visit Mecca (be it Christians or, G-d forbid, Jews).
*) Women in Israel are equal to men. We have women military pilots, women executives in the highest positions, and of course we have women in politics (Arab women too!). We even had a woman as a Prime Minister, i.e. the most influential person in the state.
*) Gays in Israel are equal. Be it in the military, in public offices or in private sector – people integrate based on personal traits. All are judged based on their qualities, and all are equal in the face of the law (there are even anti-discrimination laws regarding this issue)
Now, friend in values, just think about it for a moment. Who is more likely to violate human rights, and ignore common human ethics? A nation who respects and cherishes human freedoms in all it does and everywhere it turns – children’s, women’s, gays’ and religious minority’s rights are sacred – or an entity who mistreats it’s own people in every aspect of it’s doing? Can the Palestinians really preach Israel (and the West in whole) of human rights, while murdering their daughters, using their children as human shields and oppressing sexual and religious minorities?
I really hope that even if I couldn’t change your mind I could at least make you think of the issue from another perspective, and developed a desire to research it further on your own. Peace, and see you next year in Jerusalem :)