David - or Goliath?

Devorah Brous

David — or Goliath?

By Devorah Brous*

Copper nails, two inches in length, two inches in width, dangling from an intricate brass chain. An indelible stamp, a spiritual shield, worn daily since my arrival to the Holy Land, Oslo's kickoff off 8 years ago. It has been 'protecting' me in Israel ever since, enabling me, serving as a permit for receiving the blue and white package of benefits upon my immigration, my Return.

Israel is now my home. Thus far, I can find work; enter a hospital upon need, receive quality care and purchase subsidized remedies. I can study for a Master's degree with government aid. I can hop on any bus, ride on any road, pray in nearly any Shul, purchase vegetables at any shuk, pass through any checkpoint and visit any village or settlement without being harassed or humiliated. I can organize and demonstrate against the policies of the Occupation.

Essentially, my copper Magen David serves as a kosher trump card, a testament of my Jewish authenticity to the community at large, and the authorities, "she is one of us," inextricably linking me with the ethnocratic apparatus of the state and the abundance of privileges it provides for people of the covenant.

I work from a place of deep love for Israel, virtually binding it as a sign upon my heart with this copper Magen David. However, I simply don't subscribe to the rules of this zero sum game. Ending the occupation is for the betterment of the Jews, and the betterment of the Palestinians. Torah obligates us to love the stranger in our midst. Sensitivity to the pain of the Other does not delegitimize our own pain, rather it affirms our humanity.

Israeli Jewish human rights activists have never been highly revered by the consensus in Israel. It's hard being demonized as a disloyal, Jew-bashing, anti-semite whenever a critique is lodged against the government