Avital Aboody

Dear Aba,

I am writing to you to tell you that I love you. I love everything about you, including your heritage, your legacy, your homeland, and your people. Because of course, they are also my people, and your birthplace is a part of my story. The Land of Israel is and will always be a part of me.

I know that you are scared—scared that I have lost sight of that, lost my connection to the place where you and your siblings grew up, the place where my grandparents lived and died, the place where your childhood friends still make their home. 

I am writing to tell you that it’s ok to be scared, but not of that. Be scared of the damage that the Israeli government continues to cause in our names. Be scared that every day Israel moves farther away from fulfilling its dream of being a democratic safe haven for Jews and a “light unto the nations”. Be scared that we, a people who believe so deeply in the dignity of human life, have too much blood on our hands to wash away with prayers for peace.

Don’t be scared that I am losing my way. I know what I believe in, what you taught me to believe in, and I have my eyes wide open. I’m asking you to open yours too. If you truly believe in the values of equality and justice for all peoples, I ask you to brave enough ask to yourself hard questions. Ask yourself- does the concept of a Jewish democracy really make sense? Can Palestinians ever truly be equal under such a State? 

Or maybe you don’t really care. Maybe at the end of the day, what’s best for the Jews is all that matters to you. But I don’t believe that. I know you to be kinder than that. The Palestinians have suffered enough and we are in a position to do what is truly righteous. I urge you to humble yourself to listen to their stories, and act out of love, not out of fear.

Israel is a very special place. It pains me to see it overrun with such anger, destruction, and close mindedness. This is not the story of our people. We are a people that stands up and asks questions, takes risks, and loves our neighbor.

Israel may not be the place you knew once this fight is over. There will be comforts and privileges to let go of. But I promise you, it will be better.  If we can learn to trust and love our Palestinian brothers and sisters, live together as equals, and revel in the beauty of diversity, rather that exclusivity, I will be the first to call myself a proud Israeli daughter.

With love and hope,