Generally speaking, people around the world have a view of Israel that has little correlation with the reality here. Admittedly, there are problems here. The people next door (not to mention a large percentage of the one billion plus Muslims around the world) would celebrate in the streets if we all decided to pack up and move. Unfortunately, not only would they celebrate, many of them are actively taking measures to ‘encourage’ us to give up the Zionist dream. Yes, there are divisions within Israeli society (religious v. secular; rich v. poor; left v. right; etc), but generally speaking we all get along alright on a day to day basis.
What most people around the world don’t see in the news is that we live fairly normal lives…work, school, friends, malls, restaurants, etc. Most importantly is that we are still living life. For example, in the last four weeks I have attended 5 britot (bris/ritual circumcision). Heck in the last 3 days I have attended 2 britot, two bar mitzvahs, two Shalom Zachors (a small party on the first Friday night after the birth of a baby boy) and one hanukat habayit (the ‘dedication’ of a new home). In addition we have friends who, Gd willing, will be having a brit for their newborn son on Wednesday morning (making it 6 britot in 5 weeks) and another friend who is due to give birth any minute to the family’s 9th(!!) child, so there may well be another brit in the next 8-10 days. To top it all off, we have a wedding on Tuesday night and Sting just performed to a standing room only crowd last Thursday night in Tel Aviv (although I think Sting was riding the coat-tails of Matisiyahu, who was the opening act).
So, in short, while terrorists are regularly shooting Kassam rockets from Gaza (thankfully both the terrorists and their rockets aren’t particularly competent or effective at this point); Hizbullah is a regular threat on our northern border; and there is a mad man attempting to build nuclear bombs in Iran, we are still able to celebrate life’s joyous occasions, big and small.
May we all know only smachot (joyous events) in the future.