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Monday, December 11, 2006

Zionism & It's Meaning To Some

Among those I am lucky and honored to call "friends" is one specific person whose name is Kayla. She is actually more like an adopted sister. She also just happens to be one of the nicest people I have ever met in my time on this planet.

I have been friends with Kayla for some years now. We met in the background of "Operation Defensive Shield" when I was a medic in Jenin. It took me sometime to get used to Kayla's unique mixture of complex and yet simple. She is a graduate of the cream of Ivy League Universities. She is no-one's dummy. A discerning mind with the ability to cut through the bull so fast it would scare the pants off of you.

Kayla though is also very "simple" in her demands upon life. I must say of all the people I have ever met at times I think of her as one person who is incredibly easy to please. She does not demand a great deal from life. She covets no one else as far as I know. She smiles easily and laughs with the best of them. She is also a true friend, and let me tell you folks, that is a rare and unique quality.

Kayla is smart, pretty and loves life. She works hard. She loves "The West Wing". Actually the more I think about it, and I say this as a supreme compliment, you just don't get more "normal" than Kayla.

Kayla though is also an unabashed, unashamed, unrepentant and supremely proud Zionist. She comes from the US, and though she could have riches and glory and power and an easy life, she chooses of her own volition to live an incredibly difficult and sometimes lonely life in Israel - in Jerusalem.

Kayla believes in Israel. Oh don't get me wrong. She does not ever give a blank check to anyone just because they live in Israel. But in the recent war with Lebanon, of all the people I knew, of all the loud mouth, flag waving people I know, it was Kayla who went up north and delivered much needed supplies to women soldiers and to children stuck in shelters. It was Kayla, (and the company she works for) who devoted time and gave money for these people.

Kayla knows my rule. I do not discuss my own private politics. Even here in The View From Jerusalem, you will not find my political leanings. Even though I will state unequivocally that Olmert should be thrown out on his ass, I will not tell you what path I think Israel should take. Kayla respects the rule. It drives her bonkers but she respects it.

Kayla's passion though is not politics per-say. It is Israel. It is the fact that she believes that sooner or later, most Jews should end up in Israel for one basic reason. This is the Jewish homeland. Kayla believes that as you believe night comes from day. It is a fact. Nothing else matters. Nothing else is important.

Sometimes I look at Kayla and wonder how such an intelligent, sophisticated, pretty, smart, wise and nice woman can be so damn positive about such a thing. Sometimes I look at her and am tempted to put it down to being naive. Sometimes I look at her and wonder what happened to my Zionism and what happened to everyone else along the path?

Kayla has taught me that some things do not need to be intellectualized to death. Some things need to be understood more by the heart than by the mind. Some things are just "fact". Some things are just more real than others.

For Kayla, who will spend her time at rallies for the downtrodden in Africa and those with Aids, Israel is a part of her soul. It is her destiny. It is her life.

Zionism may be a dirty word today. It may be so polarized and so "yesterday" that we are tempted to forget all it means. It takes a Kayla to come along and put things in proper perspective. It takes someone like Kayla to understand that simply put, this is the homeland of the Jewish people. Whether you live here or in New York or Boston or California or in Zanzibar, it is just simple fact. Zionism simply means - Israel is the homeland of the Jewish People.

And when things are bad and things are wrong and the clouds of war loom on the horizon, it takes someone like Kayla to remind all of us just what we are really doing here.


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