Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Finding The Real Israel

There's a multitude of images of Israel in the world - there's the CNN / BBC image of a war torn land, filled with violence, divided by a giant wall, and run by an arrogant military; The Islamist almost medieval blood libelous view of Israel; There's the Christian image of Israel, which is a place where you can see the footsteps of Jesus at every turn, a country of biblical sites linked by air conditioned bus rides; theres the Jewish day school Israel - a country of kibbutzim, pioneers and wars to memorize; and finally there's the Israel you never really get to hear about, which is where I actually live: It's the real Israel - the country of honking cars, learning to speak Hebrew, dealing with a new education system. A country with a vibrant theatre & arts, beautiful views & promenades, frustrating bureaucracy, amazing medical services, horrendous drivers; a country that beats to the rhythm of Judaism in all its forms...it's the Israel that myself & the other staff & volunteers at Rustymikeradio.com try to present in our programming every day.

Yesterday is a great example of what I am talking about - Yom Hashoah (Israel's Holocaust remembrance day) - Elsewhere in the world a holocaust remembrances would focus on the history, the evil, and the suffering, tempered with synagogue services & school choirs singing but here it's different: This is a country where a high percentage of our citizens are survivors or decended from survivors and where few do not have family members amongst the Six Million. It makes Yom Hashoah immediate & relevant & not historical or stale. Our station, along with every other radio station in Israel played only sad music, & no advertising or jingles & our interviews had a connection with Shoah education, & events . At 10am every person in this country stopped what they were doing for 2 minutes while the sirens wailed. It's a uniquely Israeli experience as an entire nation stood silently by cars, in supermarkets, schools. hospitals & in their homes. We broadcast that siren to the world. Its a powerful annual moment of national unity, and we try to share the feeling here with Jews & friends of Israel worldwide. Next Monday is Yom Hazikaron (Remembrance day for our fallen soldiers & victims of terror) when we'll do this again. Rustymike Radio will relay the experience of the Yom Hazikaron from our anglo-Israeli perspective to the world. You won't see that on the CNN , Sky or BBC and if it is mentioned it'll be in the context of current affairs & moral equivalency. For us its Israel, it's who we are, where we live, what we have suffered & what we have achieved despite that.

I think the reason Rustymike Radio is so vital is that it is that while the CNN Israel does exist in places, that isn't the Israel I live in. There's a missing voice talking about the real country, its laws, customs, events, people, problems, kids, elderly, humor, arts, and yes sometimes we talk about the "Palestinian question" too - thats part of our life here, but only part & by no means the biggest part. If you want to know the rest of the story then you only need to sift through our several hundred podcasts or listen to a few hours of live output to find it.

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