June 18, 2015

The Evil Spies

I recently read an article in entitled “Tourists have stopped coming to Israel.” It reported that tourism to Israel has seen a 28% drop in the first quarter.  

I was a little shocked. To date, there is no war like there was last summer. I actually feel as if it is peaceful here these days. Relatively.

Or maybe tourists find the prices here to be high. The euro is weaker than the shekel and Europe offers better vacation value these days.

Sunning on a Tel Aviv beach.
But still, I wondered, why are people not coming to what I feel is the most beautiful, dynamic, miraculous place on Earth? 

The article then explained some of the reasons why tourists are not coming. It stated that non-Jewish tourists place Israel in the same basket “of fire” as our warring neighbours. 

Ok. I see that. The civil war in Syria is still raging on our northern border. Hezbollah threatens and digs while Gaza can’t contain its rocket addiction, lobbing a few our way every so often.

Perhaps, after watching the horrendous acts of Isis, who are fighting on the Israeli-Syrian border, people decide that a beach vacation in Majorca could be a more relaxing choice.

Vibrant nightlife on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem.
I guess Majorca wins over Israel on the peace front. But Israel has so many issues domestically and internationally, it is really sad that, in addition to our huge problems,  we are perceived as sitting in the same fiery basket as our warring neighbours. We are, after all, a hot, sunny, booming, flourishing democracy with beaches and mountains and the world’s holiest sites.

Israeli school girls go to  Nahal Kziv for a refreshing dip.
The article then went on to explain that the only tourists arriving these days are pilgrims who spend six nights in Bethlehem and some religious Jewish tourists. 

If the Christians and some religious Jews are coming, where are the other Jewish tourists? I did not need look far to find out, as I just had to read the comments at the end of the article.

Those who have decided not to visit Israel used this simple piece of reporting as a platform to bash everything they hate about this country. They could not contain themselves and wrote seething anti-Israel comments at the bottom of this article.

The lashed out at the cab drivers, bad mouthed transportation, groaned about food, whined about poor service, inflated prices and then went on about apartheid.

Who could speak so badly and have so much hatred and misinformation about Israel’s political situation? The names beside the comments were all Jewish, not those of anti-Israel groups I usually see all over the Internet.

Just last week we read the Torah portion Shelach, when, during the sojourn in the desert,  Jewish tribal leaders, were sent to investigate the Land of Israel. Known as The Spies, they came back with negative reports. This was because they saw only the negative and were caught up in the mundane physicality. They did not judge the land on its uniqueness and potential and they had no faith.

And here we are, over  2,000 years later, still repeating the same mistake.

But today it is worse. Jews now smear fellow Jews and call their own brothers murderers. Many Jews have embraced a complete anti-Israel mythology. And not only do these seemingly intelligent people buy into the lies, they then assertively spew their hatred to the rest of the world.

This sin is worse than that of the Biblical Spies. These Jews are inflaming the harmful lies that threaten to destroy the Jewish homeland. 

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