DISCLAIMER: From my limited understanding of my limited rights, I am fairly sure that my only limitation to expressing my political views is that I cannot discuss Israeli politics. I’m in an army that serves under the Ministry of Defense, under the Israeli government at large, so it makes sense. What I learned recently, however, is that international politics are not off-limits. Which means that my political opinion regarding my other government is fair game.
I’m in the Golan Heights right now, on a weekend trip with my kibbutz.
We got in yesterday after doing what resulted in being a 5-hour hike. (Note: hiking with children is like trying to hike with both arms tied behind your back and a twisted ankle).
Today we traveled to Mount Hermon. I saw snow for the second time in Israel, which was my second time witnessing a surreal reality.
After we said goodbye to the slopes, we embarked on a bus tour of the Golan. While my boyfriend David and I thought that the tour guide was too loud and the path was too curvy, it was nice to visit and revisit remote locales in the Heights.
The tour was manageable until on our way back when the tour guide got on the microphone and said, “And to our right is this past year’s most famous sign in Israel!”
There, to our right, was what I can only describe as one of the most vile things I ever seen in the holy land:
Trump Heights. Ramat Trump. Unless Donald Trump (or Ivanka, Don Jr., Melania, or Eric – the sign wasn’t very specific) bought that sign and the land on which it stands, I can’t think of a single reason for that sign or those words.
“If you want to get out and take a picture, we can wait,” the tour guide told the bus of kibbutzniks.
“No,” I said loud but not loud enough to be disrespectful, “that’s really gross!”
When no one made any indication of wanting to linger by the sign, the tour guide relented and we continued on our way.
As we continued, I thought about something David had said at an earlier view: it doesn’t matter what the international community thinks, the Golan is the Golan and the people here are Israeli. Now, I feel like I’m treading into Israeli politics, but what David said rings true. The Golan was the Golan and the Israelis living there were Israeli before, during, and after Trump’s team informed him of the existence of someplace in Israel called the “Golan Heights.”
Trump didn’t do anything. His word means nothing. To my knowledge and hope, Trump has never and will never have any authority or ownership of the Golan Heights, Amen.
It is absolutely vile to consider something so integral to Israel being desecrated, even symbolically, by someone as disgusting as Donald Trump.
As an American and an Israeli, I can only request that Trump keeps his signs and his symbolism out of my Heights and my country. Amen.