Voices from the field
Thursday Morning in Israel – A Reflection by Barry Chazan
Dawn is breaking as I look out at David's City from my hotel room in Jerusalem. A country begins mourning the last of Israel's founding fathers. On TV, the Director of Ben Gurion Airport announced that this will be the busiest day in the history of the airport: 95 private planes bringing foreign dignitaries will arrive over the next 24 hours; at the same time, 20,000 traditional Jews are leaving today to fly to Uman for their annual Rosh Hashanah pilgrimage to the burial site of the the famous Rev Nachman of Breslov. What a bizarre scene - Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Angela Merkel will cross paths with plane loads of Hasidim flying to an annual pilgrimage.
The main highway Route 1 is closed for 24 hours. Peres' coffin has just arrived at Knesset and will be visited by Israelis young and old, rich and poor, left and right, religious and secular. Every TV station, every school classroom, every hourly news has only one topic - the life of a man who is the story of the life of Israel. This is what a "culture" of something means: everything, everybody, every channel, every man and every woman today breathes legacy, history, and the story of a nation.
And the main "words" of his legacy being spoken?
A BETTER WORLD
"May his memory be a blessing " is the traditional expression when a person passes away. His memory is a legacy, a dream, a hope for a better Israel, a better world, a better life.
Off to the streets of Shimon Peres' Israel.