Part of The Tribe

It’s a lot of fun to meet your own “tribe,” people who understand your language and humor, who call a barbecue, al ha’esh, and know that you spread the humus inside the pita bread, and not on top of it. And best of all, for just one afternoon a year, you can relax and feel at home outside your own four walls, just like you feel when you’re in Israel.


Well, this year, we want to stretch this cozy warmth so it can cover much more than an afternoon. But before you keep on reading, do this little exercise: pick a few people from those around you, 4-5 will do, and offer them a beer. Lechaim. Now tell them: “I want to ask you all a question, and I’d like each of you to answer it, including me. We can’t cut into someone else’s words, and we can’t argue, or openly disagree. On the contrary, our answers should be different, or additions to the other people’s answers. Ready?” If they didn’t say “yes,” raise another lechaim and continue: “The question I would like to ask is: Why is it important for you to be an Israeli, even when you’re far away from Israel?” When they have all answered, smile and thank them, say lechaim once again and take a nice long sip from the beer.

Our Special Connection

How do you feel now compared to how you felt before this little exercise? It’s no coincidence. There is a special quality to our people. We are connected in a way that is unique, and very deep. The Israeli “spirit” is one of connection and friendship. It’s no coincidence that we’re the ones who gave the world the two most socially advanced ideas: arvut hadadit (mutual guarantee) and “love your neighbor as yourself.” Whenever we touch this connection between us, we feel good, even if it’s only through beer and funny exercises.

The funny thing about independence is that you can only feel it when you are with close friends and feel safe and open with them. This is why whenever there is a war, we instinctively unite, feeling that this is what gives us strength. Too bad that as soon as the ceasefire begins, the Israeli unity ends.

But the people you just spoke to, who made you feel so warm, are still connected to you. It’s up to you to keep that connection open. When we connect for the sake of strengthening our friendship, we can rise above our egos and discover that friendship for the sake of friendship is much more fun, and a lot more powerful than the friendships we normally maintain.

Time to Break Free

This Independence Day, let’s break free from interests and agendas. Let’s show the world that Israelis can unite even without the threat of war. Let’s be what we were, “as one man with one heart,” so we may truly feel connected, united, and independent.


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