In 2017, I traveled to Israel with 3 strong incentives-
1. To meet the family and feel the country of my then girlfriend, Hila, to learn more about whether we might have a child together.
2. To visit he Holy City in Jerusalem and determine there any ever hope that a city where 4 of the Major world religions could be, in any way, a shining light to bring mankind out of the dark, ignorance, and disconnect, that we currently feel with one another.
3. I love to travel and see new lands and cultures.
I knew that if I were to have a child with Hila, that it would be very likely that she would bring our child to Israel for an undetermined amount of time.
I loved the nomadic spirit of Israel, not at all still and proper, but rather raw and real, so akin to my Latin culture. Though the occasional missiles would fly overhead from Gaza prompting me to immediately remember where the bomb shelter rooms were within the household, I felt as if everyone had simply accepted it as a way of life and that also sharpened their appreciation of the moment with family and friends. As much as I had grown up in a low income housing with lots of neighborhood bullies and even criminals, my skin was not tough enough to endure the anxiety of family and children born into the existential mentality of the Israeli people. I knew that could never be at peace with my child living in Israel.
My visit to the Holy City in Jerusalem was equally disappointing. Nearly each quadrant that separated the neighborhoods by religion, had armed soldiers to protect their boundaries as well as, I’m sure, the many millions of tourists that pass through every year. Any sense of unity or desire to provide a solution through the commonality of religion seemed to be over shadowed by the need for safety and survival.
As beautiful as Israel was, and I would certainly re-visit, it was no place for me to have a child in or to feel a shining light that would bring the world a step closer toward enlightenment.