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Last night my friend Bat Zion hosted Ryan Bellerose and a collection of pro-Israel bloggers, writers and activists for a little soirée. It was a chance for many people who’ve followed Ryan’s trip to Israel to meet the man, the myth, the mountain.
We were all treated to a detailed, day by day account of his trip. I know Ryan will be writing more and he’s already written quite a bit (which he’s published here on Israellycool) so I’m going to give you my impressions of how he spoke.
It can hardly be said that Ryan didn’t know Israel when he got here. Or at least, through his copious reading of a wide range of historical and religious sources, he thought he knew Israel. He’s written a thesis on the Merkeva tank, but he’d never before met someone who fought in one. He’s read the gospels but he’d never walked along the Via Dolorosa. He’s read of the decadence of Rome but he’d never stood in the amphitheatre of Caesarea. He’s read about Jews being blocked from their Temple Mount but he’d never reached the front of the line and been refused entry himself. He’s read about the Syrians shelling civilians but he’d never stood on a hill a mile away and watched shells fly.
He did all of those things and many more.
Time and again during his entertaining and humorous narrative, he found himself needing to pause before continuing. Israel has deeply affected him.
His trip here has dramatically re-enforced his pre-existing views: Jews are the indigenous, aboriginal people of Israel and nobody else has a realistic claim. And even more important, the return of Jews to self determination in Israel marks the single greatest return of an aboriginal people to their ancestral lands. Ryan sees this as a beacon of hope for his own tribe and other tribes in America and around the world.
Ryan clearly states any aboriginal groups who are suckered into supporting the Arabs’ claims over the Jews are destroying their own claims. Arabs are the colonial invaders here, not even European Jews returning to ancestral homelands.
In fact the reason why Ryan was on the verge of tears numerous times last night was because he completely understands the uniqueness of our case: we have our lands back. He wants to return to his people and show them what can be achieved as the few thousand left in his Metis tribe are in danger of drifting toward being subsumed within Canada.
If someone could point out what unique elements of Canaanite culture the Arabs have lovingly preserved they’d have some claim: they can’t. They haven’t got a clue what went on here before Jews established themselves and they’ve never even tried to find out. The only real archeology that takes place here is by Jewish scholars and all it does is dramatically re-affirm Jewish ties to the land.
Ryan had an amazing insight into Israel and the Jewish connection to our land before he came. He only saw and felt things to strengthen that. It’s going to be exciting to watch what he says and does next. Godspeed Ryan, safe trip home and a big thank you to StandWithUs for flying him here.