”Before you say one more thing about Israel – come here!”

Hej kära vänner!

So… Originally I wanted to write this letter in Swedish, but I gave up on the idea since my Swedish is far from being perfect and since I want to convey my message as coherent as I can.

I read some of the letters here, and they’re very touching letters about the conflicts here in Israel and about the terror attacks and all of the threats we are dealing with from all of our neighbors. Unfortunately, our neighbors are not Norway, Finland and Denmark, to say the least :-).
I do have a lot to say about the political aspects, about the European hypocrisy and the ”human rights” activists, who are falling into the trap of Hamas and terror organizations. I have a family in the South of Israel, and my brother spent his birthday in a shelter, and in general I have much to say about the conflict.

But!

I don’t want to focus on the negative and problematic sides, but on the positive ones. Because that’s how I am. I guess that most Israelis and Jews are like that – ”everything will be alright” (”Allt ordnar sig”). Maybe because my people have been through so much…

In order to truly understand the mentality, the way of thinking, the culture, the conflict and all what you might thought or heard in the news about Israel – you just have to come here. There were so many people who completely changed their mind about Israel after visiting. There is so much ignorance in the Western world in the Israeli subject, it’s just unbelievable. In my four visits in Sweden, there were Swedes who thought the language we speak is Jerusalem, some thought that Israel is in Africa and were surprised to see that I’m white; others thought women have to work with their faces covered, and so on. The only way to fight that ignorance is to come, see by yourselves and tell your friends the truth. Så kom!

Before I tell you what Israel is for me, I’ll tell you a bit about myself. My name is Dan, I’m 21 years old and I live in Tel Aviv. I was born in Moscow and my parents immigrated to Israel when I was one year old. I grew up in Be’er Sheva, a city in the South of Israel. I moved to Tel Aviv just after high school because I got accepted to Law studies at Tel Aviv University. This year I’m finishing the fourth and last year of my degree, and afterwards I go to the army to work in the law unit there. I speak Hebrew, English, Russian, Spanish (from TV shows I watched when I was a kid) and some Swedish. My romance with Sweden started a long time ago, in the beginning with the Eurovision and the Melodifestivalen. Since March 2009, I visited Sweden 4 times and also started studying the language. I really like your country, the culture, the people, the music and even the weather (probably it’s the Russian genes…).

But anyway, we are here to talk about Israel. Do you remember Mika’s song, ”Grace Kelly”? It has a sentence – ”I could be brown, I could be blue…”- If someone would ask me what the magic of Israel is, and why people fall in love with it, I would answer, without any doubt, that it is its diversity.

Israel can be the Holy Land, with all of the sacred places for Jews, Christians and Muslim people and you can feel the Holy Spirit in the different holidays, as well as during the weekends in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Safed, and more. Jewish Rabbis are praying in the Western Wall, Priests and nuns are walking down Via Dolorosa road in the old city of Jerusalem, and Muslims are looking at the beauty of the Dome of the Rock. If there is a G-d watching us from above, he is definitely overlooking at Jerusalem and the holy places.

But at the same time, alongside with the religion and the tradition, we can see at the same Jerusalem city bars and pubs and night clubs, celebrating the miracle of life until dawn. If you go a bit west you will find Tel Aviv, the most liberal city in the Middle East. With endless night life, it earned the name ”the city that never sleeps”. Pride parades, amazing beaches and a beautiful port, big club scene, Parties – all of those contributed to the image that Tel Aviv got – young, funky and maybe a bit of a crazy city!

Read the rest of this letter here.

Jag heter Oshra och jag har en bekännelse

Jag heter Oshra och jag har en bekännelse: Jag älskar Israel! Verkligen!

Vi har ett otroligt poetiskt språk, vi har storstäder och gröna ängar och gula öknar. Vädret är fantastiskt; det är aldrig för varmt eller för kallt. Vi har stränder och vi har vackra berg. Vårt utbildningssystem är ett av världens bästa; vi uppmuntrar stora tänkare och att tänka utanför ramarna. Vår sjukvård är inte alltför dyr. Vi får lov att säga vad vi tycker och att protestera när det behövs – och vi gör det utan våld. Israel är ett fantastiskt land. Jag älskar det. Verkligen.

Misstförstå mig inte – det är inte alltid lätt för mig att erkänna det. Jag håller inte alltid med om det mitt land gör.

Läs resten av detta brev här.

My name is Oshra and I have a confession to make

My name is Oshra and I have a confession to make: I love Israel! I really do.

We have the most poetic language, we have city landscape as well as green meadows and yellow deserts. The weather here is phenomenal, it is never too hot or too cold. We have the beach and we have beautiful mountains. Our education system is one of the best in the world, we encourage great minds and thinking out of the box. Our health insurance is not that expensive, we have the ability to speak our minds and protest when necessary, and we do it non violently. Israel is a great country. I love it. I really do.

Don’t get me wrong though, it is not always easy for me to admit that. I don’t always agree with my country’s actions.

Read the rest of this letter here.