I am on a journey, to make Aliyah, and want to share my journey with my family, friends and anyone that is interested. I made the decision to make Aliyah in December 2002 and now I am actually doing it. This blog will chronicle my story and adventures leading up to getting on the plane and then the continuing story of the beginning of my new life in Israel and what I experience once there.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rally at the SC Statehouse

Yesterday was a good day in SC for Israel. A large group of people gathered on the grounds of the statehouse to rally in support of Israel. My last post shared the list of speakers and the words that came from each made me proud to be a South Carolinian. They spoke of the right of Israel to exist, to defend herself and the reasons for their beliefs. The flags, the music and the common beliefs bridged the differences in the religions that were in attendance. Who have thought a nice Jewish guy sitting and listening to a Baptist minister quote the bible and make connections from history, not run for the door thinking what am I doing here? The whole experience showed me how people can co-exist and focus on the similarities that bind us while respecting what makes us different. Maybe one day more of the world will be this way and not focus on the differences.

So, what did I have to say? I felt humbled by the experienced speakers that preceded me but I didn't have the anxiety that I figured I would. Here are the words that I shared:

When I was asked to speak here today I had no idea what I was even supposed to say. I am not a seasoned public speaker, which the next few minutes will prove. I don’t consider myself an activist, nor am I a politician; I don’t work for or speak for an organization that supports Israel. So who am I? I am an American. I am a South Carolinian and in just a few weeks I will also be Israeli.

Growing up in South Carolina has helped shape who I am and will continue to be. I learned you can be many things at once. I don’t have to box myself in and say “I am Jewish” or “I am American” or “I am a South Carolinian”. So to add Israeli to that, does not diminish my other characteristics. I learned to stand up for what I believe in. South Carolinians did that so many years ago at Fort Sumter. We do it today: whether or not we agree with our Governor’s decisions he stands up for what he believes. I do so today by standing here and speaking out to you. “Don’t Tread on Me”

By gathering here today y’all share with me the idea that you can support Israel while not diminishing your support for South Carolina and the United States of America.

I am moving to Israel for many reasons, but this is my way of “Put up or Shut up”. While moving to another country is not what everyone does to show support. I know many of you gathered here today don’t need much encouragement, but Supporting Israel is good for the world. Those of you, I know there must be one or two out there, that have a cell phone should thank Israel. Those of you that are ignoring calls and letting it go to voicemail should also thank Israel. Have you swallowed a camera for medical reasons? Thank Israel. If you have swallowed a camera for other reasons, I don’t think we want to know about it… I could go on and on. Israel is an innovator and has made the world a better place.

Israel is central to the monotheistic religions of the world. We share a belief of one g-d. We share a sense of fairness. We share a responsibility of defending what is right. We want the world to be a better place.

There are those out there that try to focus on the unfortunate events that have occurred over the years in the defense of the Israeli way of life. There are many who think Israel has been evil and malicious in these events. If Mexico were bombing San Diego I don’t think we’d sit quietly and let it go on for years upon years. Bibi Netanyahu said “if the Arabs laid down their arms there would no war, if Israel laid down its arms there would be no Israel.” There is no crystal ball, no magic; the hope is for peace and prosperity. We will continue to work towards this goal and maybe one day this won’t be a hope any longer.

Israel needs us, continue to support her. Speak out, join organizations, visit Israel and if you are so inclined move there.

Am Darom Carolina Chai! – The people of South Carolina Live!

Am Artzot Habrit Chai! – The people of the USA Live!

Am Yisrael Chai!

Thank you!


תמר said...

I am impressed! Well done, Matt. At this point I do not think I will make the 6 July flight as I am still awaiting approval. Too bad, because if this speech is any indication, I know would enjoy talking with you. I will keep watching your countdown and wish you luck. Toneille Moriah Reed

Matt Gottlieb / משה גוטליב said...

Thanks for the kind words.

I hope you get what you need and you do make the flight, but please keep in touch and we can meet when you do get to Israel.