This Is Why I Love Israel #AIPAC

A man speaks of a product created after serving on the front lines in the Israel Defense Forces, where it is a top priority to bring all your men out, dead or alive. A backpack to carry a wounded soldier more easily, now sold to anyone who finds use for it.

Like the family in Oneanta, N.Y., whose son, living with Cerebral Palsy, loves to hike. The backpack helps the entire family reach new heights and have adventures they never thought possible.

imageThe African-American man in Chicago, now a devoted AIPAC supporter, who finds use for the lessons learned in Israeli cities under siege to help beleaguered neighborhoods in his American city.

The “son of Hamas,” Mosab Hassan Yousef, who explained to 16,000 supporters of Israel why he turned his back on his childhood (father a founder of Hamas, mother from Muslim Brotherhood) to help Israel because he finally saw the Truth.

So many people, not just Jews, in love with Israel, grateful to Israel, in support of the only Jewish nation in the world. Because of its innovation. Because of its dedication to ethical living. Because of the way it cares for its people.

I saw a movie about IDF paratroopers, “Beneath the Helmet: From High School to Homefront,” where 18 year olds from Hungary, Russia, Ethiopia, Switzerland, came to Israel to serve in the armed forces because “Israel needs me more.” Because “this is the home for Jews.”

Because soldiers are taught about history and those who have sacrificed their lives to ensure the safety of others, believing “if you don’t learn your history, you can’t build the future.”

Because Israel stands for good and right and the future.

People don’t understand why I am so singularly devoted to Israel.

You can sit here in America or in Europe or wherever you find yourself and insist on taking “an objective” stance on Israel. You can say they’re not nice to Palestinians (not true). You can say they’re “occupiers” (also not true).

You can spin all kinds of stories, believing you’re building a rational argument against the only democratic country in the Middle East, believing you support underdogs and oppressed peoples.

You couldn’t be more wrong.

Last year, despite enduring 50 consecutive days of rockets (Operation Protective Edge), Israel reported its best economic year ever.

This is a nation kissed by God. It is a nation so spectacular in its humanity, you begin to wonder what the hell we are doing over here.

You can choose to believe me or not, but I urge you not to take my word for any of it, but to go to Israel yourself. There are all sorts of missions for all sorts of people to see what it’s really like, and I encourage you to seek one out. If you’re not interested in doing the research, I’ll help you find it.

Because as long as Israel thrives, the entire world has a chance of building a collective goodness.

I was last in Israel four months ago. Exquisite food and sights and terrain and culture and incredibly beautiful, smart people.

But that hardly matters. Israel has a je ne sais quoi that no other place on the planet comes close to. It is a miracle in our midst. And it is our salvation.

I have loved every minute of this AIPAC Policy Conference, and I can’t even begin to explain why. The energy coursing through the Washington Convention Center. So many people in support of one tiny nation that didn’t even exist 100 years ago.

The mystique of this nation and its imprint on all of us, subtle and glaring. It is the closest we come to seeing God on Earth.

I’m so glad I came. Sometimes we need an environment of connection and unity to pump us up to focus on right and good and making a difference. You can bet I’ll be back.

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