Our relationship status would always be “It’s Complicated.”
Some people are totally In a Relationship with Israel. Mostly this is people on birthright, or studying in Israel for the year/semester. They do that thing where they post pictures of themselves in Israel doing cute, fun things. All of their status updates are about how awesome Israel is, and how much fun it is to be with Israel. The whole point of those statuses is to make other people jealous, like, ‘don’t you wish you were in a relationship with Israel, too?’ You look at those profiles and you are a little jealous, but more often you’re just glad to have avoided being in a relationship with that person, who comes across as a wee bit psycho. On the other hand, she looks great in a bikiniâ€¦in Israel.
Some people are married to Israel. They made aliyah. They do less talking about Israel because it’s already pretty normal to them, so they feel no real compulsion to give you every detail of the progression of the relationship. They post photos of relaxed, out of the way looking places where they sit around with Israeli looking people. They do, sometimes, feel the need to tell you about the amazing time they had last night in Israel, but they also sometimes whine about how annoying it is to wait in line with Israelis. If they are in the army they seem alternately annoyed or sad, but still committed to their marriage to Israel. You wish them the best, but you half expect to hear they’re getting a divorce. When they start to post pictures of their cute little babies with Israeli names you lose interest.
Some people ended their relationship with Israel. Now they post notes and status updates about injustice in the territories, or brutality at checkpoints. At some point they were happy, even inspired by Israel, but these days, it just makes their blood boil.
Some people are old friends with Israel, but that basically just means they write on Israel’s wall every once in a while, reminiscing about good times. They talk about visiting, but never do.
Some people leave Israel’s friend request in limbo. They kind of know Israel, but aren’t sure they want Israeli stuff popping up in their feed all the time. Too political. Too much stuff all the time.
But I’m in a complicated relationship with Israel. I had some of the best nights of my life with Israel. Some of my favorite people are tight with Israel. I feel like I should be too. But every time I get involved with Israel I remember how much Israel can–and, inevitably, will–hurt me. I remember long romantic walks through the shuk, and short obnoxious gropes by dozens of nameless security guards when entering and exiting pretty much anywhere. Fragrant starry nights, and loud pushy crowds. I miss Israel, but somehow, I feel like we do better at a distance.
Yom Haatzmaut is coming up. Maybe I’ll get back together with Israel for just one night, and take off in the morning. It’s kind of cheap, I know, but it’s for my own protection.