Hope, Unity, and Brotherhood

Yael Eckstein  |  August 8, 2023

Yael Eckstein in Jerusalem, Israel
(Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)

While the world might focus on Israel during hard times—on times of trouble and times of turmoil—those who live in the Holy Land, along with those who stand for Israel, see the nation for what it is—a light in the darkness. Writing at Townhall, Yael says that despite tumultuous times in Israel, it is a true gift and privilege to live there:

Once again, Israel is in the news. The sight of mass protests for and against the government throughout the country can be seen all over the internet and on every TV network.

Of course, the media tends to focus on Israel during times of unrest and war. If you only watched the mainstream news, you might think these were the only things that happened in this country. There is so much beauty, brotherhood, and positive things happening in Israel, but the truth is, the protests do indeed reflect a division in Israeli society which is starting to form – and I pray will be a thing of the past very soon.

Today, some lament what they consider the “death of democracy” in Israel, and see the current, sometimes chaotic situation as a sign of weakness. I have to respectfully disagree. Though I live in Israel, I’m blessed to be a citizen of the two greatest democracies in the world—Israel and the U.S. I have seen large scale protests in both countries. And I have to say that, far from a sign of societal weakness, I see the right to take to the streets in peaceful protest as a sign of overall strength. I believe that diversity in lifestyles, opinions, and visions for the country is a foundation stone of democracy – and that’s what I see when I look at my homeland. 

Passionate public demonstrations can only occur in countries like Israel or the U.S. Under totalitarian regimes, where speech and action are tightly regulated and restricted—and, sadly, there are many examples of these today—there is silence. In those countries, there are no diverse media opinions, no critical op-eds, no demonstrations in the streets protected by thousands of police. In Israel, that’s exactly what we see happening. 

As you watch the protests and hear the passionate opinions in Israel, don’t for a second think that Israel is in a state of despair. Don’t be fooled for an instant into thinking that life in the Holy Land is steeped in darkness. There is so much that I see happening on the streets of Israel that is inspirational and filled with hope. There are so many acts of brotherhood taking place that reflect the core value of loving one another, which we passionately stand for in words and in action…

Read the rest of Yael’s message at Townhall.