When Jewish kids make Aliyah, things feel so intense, urgent, wonderful, and real. When you arrive in Israel, you have that shiny new ID in your hand. People are singing and dancing in the airport. The young beach-goers in Tel Aviv are ridiculously attractive. Everyone you meet wants to know what your plans are to serve your new country.
I had always been told that Israel was the safe space for Jews, that Israel was perfect. That I should be scared of Arabs and not believe the lies anyone else might try to tell me. I had a few friends in high school with whom I debated the Israel topic, including a Muslim friend who confided that she didn’t believe everything her uncle was telling her. No one ever truly contested what I had been taught about Israel.
Then, of course, I went to college.