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Letters/Discussion Forums

Writing as a dedicated Zionist who wants a better Israel



Yanir Grindler

But, contrary to their belief, I am a Jew and a Zionist. I believe that the Jewish people deserve a right to self-determination in their historical homeland. At the same time, I also believe that it is our responsibility to endorse a moral state – one that upholds its democracy and ensures equal human rights.

As I form a greater connection to the State of Israel, so too emerges a greater urge to call Israel out for its wrongdoings. I am not a politician, nor am I journalist; all I am is a Zionist that wants a better Israel.

Several years ago I made aliyah and served in the IDF. To describe the three years would defeat the purpose of the article. Rather I’d like to share two specific experiences that “humanized” the conflict for me.

Together with a team of 12 soldiers, we were instructed to invade a Palestinian house in the West Bank during the early hours of the morning. We forced through the doors, only to hear the weeping children in the background.

Put aside the politics, I ask why should these children be subjected to such trauma at such a young age? In Gaza, in that greenhouse, I lost a friend. He had stood on an improvised explosive device  that detonated and within seconds had lost his life.

We’re so busy following news confirming our bias that we land up forgetting the individuals living through the conflict – the people like you and me. 

We forget the minorities, those whose voices aren’t as powerful. We forget those children that my friends and I woke up; we forget my friend who stood on the device. We forget the people.

As Diaspora Jewry, let’s forget the politics for the meanwhile. Rather, lets play our part to support a state that ensures safety, equality and individual rights for every human being.

It is irresponsible not to educate ourselves on some of the mistakes Israel has made throughout its last 68 years of independence. Let us condemn the mistreatment of others regardless of their race, sex or religion.

Let us stand against the occupation and condemn Jewish settler violence. Let’s accept the Palestinian right to national self-determination. Let’s practise the beauty of Judaism in upholding our state – the Judaism that teaches the tenet to love your neighbour as you love yourself.



Killarney, Johannesburg


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  1. nat cheiman

    May 4, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    ‘The facts are simple Yanir. [Removed. Nat that is pure racism (did you not just write that people who live in class houses shouldn’t throw stones about racism in another post this morning?)  ONLINE EDITOR] Let us stand against the UN and european nations that don’t want Israel to exist.
    \nLet us also stand against JVJP who in their own way either want to live with Arabs or wish to see the demise of Israel.
    \nLet us not condemn Jewish settler violence but CONDEMN palestinian violence.
    \nJordan is where these palestinians should be. Not Israel. Let us not interfere with palestinian rights to self determination [racism unnecessary apart from being illegal  -ED].
    \nOne last thing. You cannot love your neighbour when he hates you and denies your right to life.
    \nIt didn’t work in Germany in the 1930’s and it sure isn’t going to work in 2016.

  2. Choni

    May 5, 2016 at 10:58 am

    ‘Yanir, I suggest you learn some Tanach (the constitution of Israel). It is the ONLY yardstick that will bring eternal peace to the nation and Land of Israel.’

  3. David B

    May 23, 2016 at 9:11 am

    ‘Amazing how Nat and Choni can be guaranteed to go off  like shotguns as soon as someone like Yanir has a differing opinion —

    It is obvious to people like them, who accept the ‘Book’ as our only gospel and truth without any process of thought, that you should  immediately be labeled as a traitor to the cause , and also that you do not understand the problem.

    It so happens that I empathise with many of Yanir’s points but agree that their can never, or will never be a negotiated settlement. Too many demand on both sides that can never be settled by any kind of negotiation, Jerusalem , The right of return and others).

    However this does not make any of the collateral damage acceptable on both sides – because unfortunately there are extremists on both sides, and too many innocents in between to get hurt.

      Your point about children on both sides being traumatised is absolutely valid, but with very little chance of being stopped from either side.   There will almost certainly never  be ‘love for thy neighbour’ on either side .  ‘

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