I have mentioned here that I am in the process of acquiring Israeli Citizenship. Something that I didn’t actually realise was that important to me until the clerk who told me almost a year ago that at our next meeing I take out citizenship, suddenly changed her story and postponed the meeting.
I am highly suspicious of why. I know that the state of Israel is not wild about me being here. I guess I was getting excited about voting in February and now it looks like I won’t be able to. I realise that my vote would not excite pretty much 80+% of the Israeli population, in fact that I am allowed to vote and will not be voting along religious lines will probably infuriate certain people.
Anyway, I went into quite a slump as I got my head around ‘not being there yet’. I just want to scream from the rooftops that I don’t need any bloody favours. I can quite happily take myself and my family to anywhere in Europe or Northern America with the passports I have – I do not need to be here. Except that I met and married an Israeli man, and have build my life here. And this is where I am for now.
I guess I am still ambivalent about being here. I feel awful that my DH is able to exercise his right to marry a non Israeli/non Jewish person and that Israeli Arabs who would marry a non Israeli/non Jewish person are allowed to, they just are not allowed to live with them in Israel. This is justified as being a security requirement as Israel cannot risk having Palestinians coming into Israel through maraige. And so, Israeli Arabs and Palestiinians have a different set of ‘rules’ from Jewish Israeli’s.
And this does touch my life. I do not feel comfortable getting ‘preferential’ treatment. Although it is hardly a red carpet treatment. That is reserved for Halachically Jewish people who chose to make Aliyah (Assention – or immigration is other countries) to the Land of Israel and exercise their right to vote the second they put their foot on the tarmac at Ben Gurioin International Airport. So, yeah I am angry that I am mixed up in this mess. I have no answers for the deeply complex issues that are entwined in the history of this land and the modern conflict that is so pressing.
I think most Israeli’s around me prefere not to think about it. I am welcomed as a stranger who made a huge effort to be part of Israeli Society and as such I am accepted. That I am fluent in Hebrew and fairly well read on Israel (although this is in comparison to people who know *nothing*. My knowledge is still very limited) gains me access to friendships and conversations. But, I keep my personal pain of being repeatedly ‘told’ by the state of Israel that I am not equal, to myself. I do not think Israeli’s can understand just how painful this is. I am reassured that it’s not that bad. That we had to consult lawyers and invest a lot of time and money to get my name on our property when we bought our house is kind of forgotten. And I got my name on the property, so what’s wrong?
Yes, there is a law in Israel that when ownership of land is being processed, if you are not Jewish, the board processing the request can deny the request if there is any opposition to the ownership going through. This did not happen to me in the end. I have to assume because I do not have an Arabic name and my husband is Jewish. But I did go through a tough time trying to decide if I can live in a country that for whatever reasons (some of them very valid) is so catergorically racist? In the end I could not find enough of a reason to ask my DH to leave this country and we are still here.
I grew up in South Africa and was born to a father who left South Africa as a youth, not prepared to serve in the army and support the racist regeime. Only when I was 5 and when he was assured he would not have to serve in the army did we return to South Africa. I know about racism. It has been personal before.
I just do not know yet how to reconsile my life here in Israel. I feel like I am condoning things that I do not agree with just be living me life here. However, my life is more than the politics around me. My IL’s are all here, my DH has never called another city home, let alone another country. We, in our personal lives, have a good life (a VERY good life). But that does not quiet my longing for making sense of this country that I live in, and finding a way that I can explain to myself why this is the country that I should be living in.
So, G*d knows when and how I will get this citizenship. Perhaps I require some more soul searching before accepting this opportunity. And yet, I honeslty feel that only as a citizen and a voting citizen, can I have any hope of contributing to what I want to see develop here in the Holy Land.