August 1, 2012
How Being a Confident Zionist Can Improve Your Love Life*
*And Sex Appeal
Being a confident Zionist isn’t merely an expression of a political worldview or Jewish values. It’s an approach to life that can permeate and improve all aspects of our lives, especially our relationships: with our bosses, our family members—and especially our romantic partners.
In honor of Tu B’Av on August 3, the Jewish Valentine’s Day celebrating the beginning of the grape harvest in Temple times, when the single girls of Jerusalem would dance in the vineyards dressed in white, I present a brief common-sense guide on how the principles involved in being a proud, confident Zionist are also involved in singles finding their beshert.
A good relationship is based on the union of two people who have a positive sense of who they are. Self-esteem and self-respect is predicated on self-actualization, which is rewarding but difficult work. It involves understanding and discovering your values and goals, interests and likes, strengths and weaknesses. It involves overcoming past hurts to face the future, particularly relationships, from a non-reactive place of self-knowledge. Self-contained people are more concerned with sharing the bounty of their intellect, kindness, strength and love, rather than merely taking or exploiting another’s virtue to fulfill their own voids, whether personal, emotional, financial, intellectual, or social.
When it comes to defending Israel, Zionists must first and foremost understand and promote Israel’s essence: liberator and protectorate of the land of Israel. Israel’s enemies attack Israel where she is most sensitive: her identity as a Jewish state. They call Israel an “occupier” and “aggressor,” making her doubt her moral foundation. True, Israel has many other virtues, and Israel advocates proudly parade them: Israel built a modern country in 50 years and became a leader in hi-tech, science, education, and world philanthropy despite adversity. Pro-Israel activists should of course be proud of Israel’s economic and cultural accomplishments, but flashing them is like a guy broadcasting his wealth or a woman focusing on her beauty to lure a partner. It’s what pick-up artists call “outer game.” Confident Zionists have “inner game.” They defend Israel from a deep sense of her moral value and her essence as the historic homeland of the Jewish people which Israel miraculously conquered and expanded in several wars of self-defense.
At the risk of sounding unromantic, healthy relationships are like rational “trades” of mind, body, and soul between two independent people. A great achievement of the modern world is that we can choose our partners based on real love and not on the need for financial security or social status. And the hallmark of a rational relationship is civil communication.
Applied to Israel, confident Zionists encourage Israel to develop rational relationships with other countries. As an overall rational state governed by rule of law, promoting civil liberties, and advancing science and trade, Israel is ill-suited to develop alliances or peace treaties with Arab states, monarchies and dictatorships, including the Palestinian Authority. Yet Israel is being pressured to develop a relationship with Palestinian Arabs not because they share values, but because Israel needs “peace” to be accepted by others. The “peace process” forces a relationship based on fear, not reason. Relationships not built on shared values naturally degenerate into emotional blackmail, misery, and, in worst cases, violence.
3. Don’t settle or compromise on essentials
Well-meaning people, especially Jewish mothers, often tell Jewish singles to “settle!” Contrary to conventional wisdom, no one should settle in the most important relationship of his or her life. People will self-respect and self-knowledge generally can’t or don’t have to settle because they are at peace with themselves. A partner expands the joy they already feel. Knowing who they are, they can identify qualities in others that would increase their happiness.
All too often, other countries act like pushy mothers when they push Israel to make “difficult compromises for the sake of peace.” This pressure undermines Israel’s self-esteem and decision-making power. A more important emotion than peace in a relationship is joy. It’s easy to live in “peace” with another person—simply don’t talk to each other or avoid conflict. Compromises never really have to be made to achieve happiness because in a good relationship the trade is always win-win.
4. Embrace independence
Hastily going into a relationship mainly to ease loneliness, please parents, achieve social status, or fill an emotional void usually leads to choosing the wrong partner. Any divorcee will attest that being single is infinitely better than being in a relationship with the wrong person, or worse, an abusive relationship. No one should have to suffer in an abusive relationship.
Similarly, confident Zionists should prefer that Israel remains “single” rather than be involved in alliances with countries that don’t understand her or, worse, put her down. As for the Palestinians, the “peace process” is nothing more than a severely abusive relationship since the Palestinians use brutal violence against Israelis and Jews as a bargaining tool. If anything, Israel needs a restraining order from Arabs or the courage to fight back and defend herself from attack.
It’s widely known that the sexiest quality in a man or a woman is confidence. Just as singles must have confidence in their virtues and ability to find and keep love, so should Israel and the Zionists that love her.