The Souls in the Land are the Only Reasons for the Land

Juda Engelmayer March 8th 2012
Salim Joubran
Salim Joubran
It was May 7, 2004 when Salim Joubran was given a position on Israel’s Supreme Court. The day that he became the first permanent member of the Court from the Israeli Arab community should have been the day the world realized that Israel was in fact, a democracy like none else in its region.

It would seem odd, or possibly some act of defiance – and the New York Times carried the story about Justice Joubran earlier this week – that he did not chant the Israeli national anthem, presumably because the words “Nefesh Yehudi homiyah,” which means, “A Jewish soul still yearns,” do not apply to him.

The anthem was not new to him when he became a lawyer, nor when he became a Supreme Court judge. It may indeed be an uncomfortable concept to sing, let alone believe by one who is not Jewish. It highlights the delicate tightrope Israel walks in its pursuit of peace and prosperity while safeguarding its democratic statehood.

For Jews, living in Israel ironically often removes Jewish identity from the everyday life of the average Jew. Unlike most places, where for many, Jewish identity is worn on our sleeves so to speak; on our heads actually for some, but also with the often uncomfortable vacation requests at work and exclusion of eating at non-kosher restaurants, Israeli Jews to do have to face these issues.  In Israel, Jewish holidays are the State holidays and no one feels out of place donning a skullcap.

Juda Engelmayer is an executive with the NY PR agency 5W Public Relations and a contributor to the Cutting Edge News. A version of this article also appeared in the Jewish Star

 

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Filed under anti-Semitism, Choices, Crisis Management, Cutting Edge News, Israel, Juda Engelmayer, Judasim

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