By Simon Fischler
Living in Israel is amazing.
I moved to Israel from New York almost eleven years ago and I could never imagine moving back to the States.
My three children were born here and although they also hold American citizenship they are Israeli to the core.
When I see all the horrible things being said about my adopted country, it pains me no end. This open, democratic nation has achieved so much with so little, in such a small amount of time, against the worst odds any nation in this world has faced.
You see, Israel truly is an open democracy. I can actually speak for this because I have lived in two of the most open democracies that still exist on this planet: Israel and the United States of America. Interestingly, many of the people out there who condemn Israel have never set foot in this country. All their information is given to them from jaded, hostile and one-sided sources.
Sadly, some very close friends of mine have come to doubt Israel. I have done my best to give them facts, undeniable facts. In some cases this has helped; in others, it has not.
This country is not perfect; that I know. We have many problems that still need to be fixed -- from education to government corruption. Is there a country, especially a democratic one, not facing these problems?
Most difficult of all, though, is the fact that we Israelis have been forced to fight for our country from its birth. So many of our young have been lost. No matter what, we must continually be ready to fight. If we are not, it could be nothing less than what happened in the Shoah.
On countless occasions we have reached our hands out in peace, but our enemies have refused us each and every time. Sadly, I am only too sure that someday my children will have to continue the fight to protect our nation.
Believe me when I say I want peace for my children more than anything. I also know that the majority of Israelis would be willing to make painful compromises if there ever was a genuine partner for peace.
Unfortunately I see no partner for peace. There is no one on the Palestinian side willing to make the compromises needed and to recognize Israel for what she truly is, the Jewish democratic nation state. Apparently all the Palestinians know how to do is deny Israel’s right to exist while simultaneously making demands she recognize their national aspirations.
Truly, the only way for anyone to see the folly in denying that Israel is an open democracy is to get on a plane and come see this beautiful country up close and personal, as they say.
Please, if you get the chance, come visit our country before you judge her; if you do you will see how wrong all those who condemn Israel truly are. There will also be an open door at our house waiting for you.