To the average Australian and New Zealander, Israel is a faraway country in a troubled region that does not affect them on any daily basis. But, as so often happened in the past, the war in Gaza at the moment has taken on international connotations. In the streets of Melbourne and Auckland, there are protests against Israel, which permeate with anti-Semitic imagery. Israeli flags are burned and Israel is accused of genocide. Left wing fascism is in full swing led by people like John Minto, a notorious anti-Semite of who I have written about previously. Tellingly, no protests have been organised against Russia or Syria where the death toll has topped 170000! Yet, Israel is not just a faraway issue, and there are times where it comes right back to us and to our community, such as the story of Guy Boyland.
Guy was originally a New Zealander whose family made Aliyah when he was a young boy. He was featured on the front page of the New Zealand Herald, where his grandfather in New Zealand paid tribute to this bravery and patriotism. From all accounts, he was someone who loved his adopted country of Israel and died while destroying tunnels thereby making it safer for all Israelis.
Too often, in the diaspora, we speak of support for Israel, and we write tributes to Israel, and we defend Israel on radio shows and in newspapers and that is important, yet there are no articles written by Guy Boland, and there are no radio interviews given about his support for Israel. Instead, he actually defended his country and he fought for it and died, so that many people could live. He, like many of the international volunteers, turned a theoretical support into a practical one.
Sometimes, in the diaspora, there are internal conflicts going on in Jews that care about Israel. It is a real tribute to the bravery and courage of those Jews who choose to put themselves in harm’s way for a just and righteous cause. From a far flung corner of the world, we salute them and all the people and soldiers of Israel who stand, sometimes alone, against a darkness that threatens us all. They are not just defending the people of Israel but the Children of Israel too.