The experience sounds amazing but it feels, for lack of a better word, sleazy to go while they're busy bombing Gaza. I want to go really badly but not if I have to pretend to love the IDF.
I'm 26, so this is my last chance to go. I'm supposed to go in mid- August. I've done the whole application thing and accepted the trip dates offered so it's all confirmed and everything. I've been reading different books on Israel all year (among others, Palestine by Joe Sacco, Jerusalem by Guy Delisle, The Other Side of Israel by Susan Nathan and Side by Side: Parallel Histories of Israel-Palestine by
and have become really attached to the idea of going.
But now I'm faced with the same moral qualm that plagued me last year ( I ended up not going last year for a different reason -I found a job at the time I was supposed to go - but I was similarly torn).
Should I be going on this trip if I don't support the actions of the Israeli military forces? On the orientation papers, they say we are accompanied by IDF soldiers throughout the whole trip. It seems like they expect us to become BFFs with these soldiers because they tell us to bring along Canadian flags and memorabilia to give as gifts to the soldiers.
On the other hand, the idea of "going back to my roots" and connecting with my Jewish heritage is something that means a lot to me. My Jewish parent (my father.... yes I know in some sects I'm not "Really Jewish" because it's transmitted matrilineally but I don't care!) died when I was very young and for several years after that my mother had a falling out with my father's family, so I had very little exposure to it as a child. My mom was not interested in Judaism and I grew up in a small town in Quebec where the only religious communities were Christian and Bah'ai. It's only in the past 2 years, since finally finishing university and Being An Adult that I wanted to start exploring it. I've always wanted to incorporate a religious practice into my life and I have tried attending church a billion times, but I've never felt like a Christian. I feel much more comfortable calling myself a Jew, I have no idea why. Anyways, this "intensive and immersive' experience feels like a way to catch up on everything I missed out on by not being taught about Judaism throughout childhood.
It seems like going to Israel is such a rich way to become immersed in Jewish cultural and religious traditions.
Also, unrelated point that the fact that I don't have money to travel anywhere makes the prospect of a free trip extremely appealing. I know how much harder it gets to travel once you get older but I won't have any money before then.
Is it wrong to travel to countries with morally corrupt governments? Should I just stay home?
Please, be respectful when you answer. I'm not asking your opinion of Israel/ Palestine, but whether you think there is a space on this trip for someone who is not in love with oppressing Palestinians. Also, whether it is somehow morally wrong to go on vacation in a country that commits a lot of injustices and is corrupt. Is traveling there wrong because their government is evil?