How Israel became my big love
People are often baffled; “Why are you so crazy about Israel?” Or “You must be very Christian to love Israel”. Numerous questions from people who are surprised at my devotion and unconditional love for Israel.
No, I’m not Christian, not at all even. I rather hang on to Judaism. But it is better to say that I am secular. I grew up in a family with father, mother and older brother. My father was an officer in the army and both grandfathers where too, although one was in the Navy and the other in the Army. My grandfather on mother’s side has been very active in the resistance during WWII and has received a resistances medal from the government.
My grandfather never spoke a word about his work for resistance, but after his death it became nevertheless clear that he played a major role in the resistance during the war . In life he handed the love for Israel over to my mother at very young age..almost as a virus.
One day my father came home with news .. Guys, I am sent to the United Nations Peace-keeping Forces in the Middle East .. we will leave to the Middle East and you will go along. The major preparation started.. A visit to the Holy Land Foundation, to soak into the culture … Visiting colleagues of my father who had just returned from the mission .. The farewell to school, this to my great joy. I was bullied at school, was excluded by teachers and kids and had basically no life there
Then the day came that we left. We went by boat to Haifa, about the trip itself I can write a book, but that is perhaps a later story. We arrived in Haifa in the middle of the night and people of the Israeli government took us from the boat and welcomed us into Israel, Max (RIP) from Tiberias, a very nice, friendly, funny guy … It was January, but the weather was very mild.
It was weird, I stepped ashore and that very moment, I felt I was coming home. This can not be explained but this knowledge was there the very first second …
You can say i grew up in the Middle East: I lived in Tiberias in a room rented from an orthodox Jewish family within walking distance of Lake Kineret. . The hospitality of this family, the impressive, beautiful, emotional Shabbat celebrations to which we were often invited. The feeling that you were one with the family. We stood around the table holding hands at Friday when lighting the candles , while the father sang prayers …. Beautiful. What also was nice in Israel .. Nature .. the thousands of flowers, trees .. the animals. .. The birds and the scent of the orange blossom, the endless views of the Golan Heights, Beit Sean with the fantastic park Gan Hashalosha where the fishes are pulling gently the skin cells of your body. My Paradise, blossoming Negev, the impressive Sinai … About the beauty of Israel, I can also write books full.
Also i lived in Syria, in Damascus, but from there we went every two weeks, Surely once to ‘home’ to Israel to buy the delicious products, everything tasted and tastes better, meat, vegetables and fruit because the sun shines often. We have traveled throughout the whole Middle East, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt … but every time we came home in Israel. in a modern, prosperous country.. what is reached by hard-working people..Israeli’s made of a dry arid Negev a beautiful oasis.
We also lived in Israel, in Jerusalem. In this city you can feel the history. Apart from being a beautiful city with beautiful “Jerusalem” stones I felt there really the very nice Jewish mentality, they love the life. Kids are there so many and people treat you with respect and dignity.. as a Human being..so different as the Netherlands. I had friends, had fun, enjoyed the weather, the food, life. I feel and always felt welcome, there was/ is no discrimination against me or anyone else, nobody is excluded …. Everyone is valued because he or she is Human. Jerusalem is the city where my heart is forever. I love that city and every visit to Israel has not been complete without a visit to my ‘home’.
Unfortunately, there came an end of our stay in Israel and we had to go back again. For years i was homesick…still I feel happy only in Israel.
Yet I didn’t dare to go back for a long time, afraid that my memory was better than the reality, and so it happened that it took 30 years ibefore I went back home … last year in July back home after decades of longing for Israel … it was not a disappointment … I felt exactly the same; when the plane flew over Tel Aviv the tears jumped already in my eyes .. beautiful. Prosperous and what’s worked hard and what did the country flourish and grow
.The beautiful beaches accessible to everyone, of all races and beliefs, just free. The sun, the delicious food, the numerous restaurants, the fact that you simply can drink water from the tap, a Western, prosperous, beautiful country. I saw only advantages. Jerusalem just as beautiful .. the fruit as awesome, the people are equally enjoying the life …. Nature is just as wonderful …. And when I first set foot on the ground i felt again I’m back home. Home where my heart is … .
Israel forever in my heart …