To See the Real Israel, Come Here and Visit
The false narratives presented in the international mainstream media about the situation here are not only frustrating to us Israelis, but also to many Jews and friends of Israel abroad. My news feed on Facebook is filled with stories of that frustration and the feeling of powerlessness that so many Israel supporters feel in the face of so much disinformation.
Facebook, Twitter and other social media are instrumental in spreading the truth about what is happening in Israel, but commenting and signing countless petitions can also be a futile exercise that actually accomplish nothing. Much of the frustration of many Jews and friends of Israel trying to advocate for Israel stems from this realization.
Here, then, is something concrete that is guaranteed to make a big difference: Leave your computer screen and come and visit us here in Israel.
Terrorism always affects tourism, and even though a recent Tourism Ministry study found that there had not been notable levels of cancellations since the stabbing spree began, this may very well be due to the under-reporting that the current terror onslaught is getting abroad.
So come and take a walk in our shoes for a week or two, or even longer. Not only will your visit give us tangible moral support, it will fill our hotels, bars and restaurants. It will show the world that nothing has changed, that we carry on with business as usual, despite the terrorist attacks.
So come and walk our streets for a while. The weather right now is perfect — neither too warm nor too cold — and we have already had the first rain of the new year, creating a freshness in the air that you do not find here in the summer.
If you want to defend Israel to the world on social media and influence the mainstream media in your countries to report reality and not a false narrative about what is happening here, it is advisable to come and see that reality for yourself. Talk to us. Ask us how it feels to be living with this terror onslaught. Because the truth is that you cannot truly appreciate what it is like, unless you come here and see it with your own eyes.
A pleasant holiday for you here is more than just that, it constitutes an act of solidarity at a time like this, and it means much more than all of your combined activity on social media.
We know that you are worried about security, but that is the whole point. We live here, every hour of every day, and we are fine, despite it all. We take more precautions, we are more vigilant, and we do not pretend that there is no threat. But having said that, the statistical fact — although repeated ad nauseam — bears repetition one more time: More people here die in traffic accidents than in terrorist attacks. If we can live here, surely you can visit.
You will find that most of us go about our business as usual, since this is what Israelis do. We worry and fear just like any other people, but courage is about facing those fears and worries and forging ahead despite of them. Israelis have courage, tons of it. We have not stopped laughing, smiling and living life here despite the sorrow. In this respect, Israelis can teach the world a lot about happiness despite everything. We are masters at seeing the cup as half full instead of half empty, and this may be the secret why this embattled strip of land always scores among the highest in every poll about the happiest nations on earth.
But don’t take my word for it. Come here and see it for yourself.
Judith Bergman is a writer and political analyst living in Israel.
This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.