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Laura's Reflections: A Glimpse into Birthright 2017

Yesterday we drove up to the Golan Heights and from the top of a mountain were able to see into Syria, and over my left shoulder was the corner of Lebanon. One of the UNDOF representatives answered all of our questions about the role of the UN in maintaining a treaty, what it means to have borders, and how everything has changed since the Syrian Civil War, since the treaty does not apply to nongovernmental groups. I think a lot about the Middle East and fractured states, and somehow those challenges have always seemed separate from Israel. But mostly I was struck by our own good fortune--it's a contentious time in America, with political tensions are running higher than usual. But even in the sharpest moments, I have never worried about the literal and physical stability of our state. Our discord, at least, is internal. The US is an ocean away from much of the world, and we have only two borders, one of them the longest peaceful border in the world. When I think about the things I am grateful for, state solvency is usually not one of them.

We worry about the threat of North Korea being able to reach us one day soon, and while this is of course a valid fear, I'd hardly considered what a luxury distance is.

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