Since I shy away from controversial topics, I’ve danced around the Israel issue for a long time.  Well, that’s about to end.

It seems that Neshama Carlebach has changed the lyrics to the Israeli national anthem, Hatikva, to broaden its meaning and include Israeli Arabs.

Here are the revised words below. Changes are in bold, with the original words following in brackets.
As long as the heart within
An Israeli [Jewish] soul still yearns
And onward, towards the East
An eye still gazes towards our country [Zion]
We have still not lost our hope
our ancient [2000 year] hope
To be a free people in the land of our fathers [our land]
in the city in which David, in which David encamped [land of Zion and Jerusalem]
To be a free people in our land
In the land of Zion and Jerusalem.

Part of what stymies American Jews in trying to figure out what in tarnation is going on in Israel is the core issue of separation of church and state.  Now whether that precept is good for the Jews or bad for the Jews depends on a lot of factors, but bottom line, it’s what us US Jews are used to.

Israel, though, was founded as joint church (pardon the expression) and state.  The state IS the church, see?  It was formed as a Jewish nation.  Now we have a move to widen that definition – make it Israeli instead of Jewish.

What IS Israeli???

Falafel?  Nosy taxi drivers?  Searing heat in the southern deserts?  Drought?  War?  Teva pharmaceuticals?  Naot sandals?  Soldiers?  What?

If Israel is not Jewish, what is it?

And if it is Jewish, must it be so politically?

For reasons I cannot fully explain, this change, following the whole controversy of  Jerusalem not being listed as the capital of Israel on birth certificates, makes me so, so weary.  Sad.  Tired.  Help me understand.

What do you think?