One day last winter, shortly after the Israeli military began attacking Gaza, I received an email from a producer at the BBC World Service. Someone there had found my blog, liked what they read, and wondered if I’d be interested in keeping a series of audio diary entries for a radio show called “The World Today“. The answer was, of course, yes. I blogged about that initial contact in this blog entry, the audio diary clips can be found by clicking this link to the BBC World Service website, and the text of those clips can be found here.
At the end of November, I was contacted once again and asked if I’d be prepared to do a two-minute roundup of the past year – referred to in BBC-speak as an “audio postcard”, summarizing a few of the events that touched our lives, and how those events have affected me. It wasn’t easy. Trying to summarize just one day in Israel in two minutes is hard enough, but twelve months? I don’t think I’ve ever been so ruthless in editing and cutting my own words as I was with this essay, paring it down to the bare minimum while trying to retain my original voice, and I’m still not sure how well I succeeded.
In any event, my clip was broadcast on the BBC World Service this morning. It can be found by clicking this link and selecting the “01 Jan 10 AM” podcast. What follows below is the text. This essay was written especially for the BBC World Service.
My name is Liza Rosenberg. I live in a small town near Hadera, Israel.
In Israel, there are always stories making global headlines. Our February elections resulted in one of the most disturbing governments I can remember. I’m troubled by the inclusion of primarily right-wing parties, and angered that our foreign minister heads a far-right party whose election slogan was “no loyalty, no citizenship”. The UN investigation looking into the Gaza incursion generated tremendous controversy, with many Israelis – myself included – questioning the legitimacy of both the report and of mission head Richard Goldstone.
While local stories making waves globally obviously affect us, there are others that capture our attention but seemingly garner almost no outside interest. In Jerusalem, there have been ongoing clashes between members of the ultra-orthodox community and the municipality over the Sabbath openings of several businesses.
As fractious as Israeli society can be, there are also issues that draw us together. For instance, an outpouring of public protest forced the government to soften its stance regarding the status and deportation of African refugees as well as children of illegal migrant workers. We’re united in our desire to see kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit return to his family, though we’re at odds over the cost. We grieved over the loss of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon’s son in a training accident, yet we are divided over whether bereaved parents and spouses should be forced to decide if their children will be allowed to serve in combat roles.
As for me, I’m doing my best to raise my son to be respectful of the other, no matter who the other may be. I explain that it is okay to disagree with ideas, but to always show respect for the individual. When he asks if I hate certain politicians, for even at the age of five he’s begun to develop an awareness of public figures, I tell him that I do not hate the person, but rather, that I dislike his opinions. And, while I often despair of local events, I allow myself to believe that I am giving my son the tools to work towards a better future.
This entry was posted in BBC, Blogging, Conflict, Current Events, Daily life, Family, Politics, Regional, Shameless Self-Promotion, War and tagged Asaf Ramon, BBC, BBC World Service, Gilad Shalit, Ilan Ramon, Israel, Richard Goldstone by Liza Rosenberg