Fascinating commentary by two Israeli Reserve soldiers, Ari Abramowitz and Jeremy Gimpel:
Israelis have been forced to question some fundamental tenets on which the State of Israel was founded as well as assumptions and beliefs implanted in elementary school. At this very moment, there is a Torah study session going on just a few feet to my left between a secular Israeli named Rafi with a large tattoo of Gandolph (the wizard from The Lord of the Rings) on his arm, and a religious Jew named Eran with a full beard covering his face and large knitted kippah on his head. While the UN, the EU, and a growing voice in international community is questioning Israel's right to exist, Rafi is opening his heart to the true legitimacy to our claim.
Rafi is learning that our right to Tel-Aviv is no more legitimate than our right to Gaza or Hebron and is based on the promise of G-d to Abraham. He is learning about our enemy, Ishmael, who is a "beastly man; his hand against everyone and everyone's hand against him" who is jealous of the birthright granted to our forefather Isaac, with whom G-d granted an "everlasting covenant with him and his offspring after him". Most importantly, he is learning that there is a G-d in the world, we are his chosen people, and that he is waiting for us to return to him and guard his commandments.
As we look at Rafi and see him beginning to understand, we too understand as well. Before the Jewish people can completely fulfill our task of being a "Light unto the Nations", we must first be a light unto ourselves. We can not extend a hand of friendship to the Christian world unless our other hand is firmly clasped by our Jewish brethren. G-d is bringing our enemies against us in order to turn us towards each other and to him. Whether or not we can understand it, the trials and tribulations we are facing in Israel are for our own good. Sometimes shedding falsehoods and illusions is cathartic, but the pain is a small price to pay for the truth we achieve.