Happy Birthday Half & Half!

Exactly one year ago I wrote my first blog post and gave birth to Half & Half with an analysis of the quirkiness of Anglos, who of all places chose to live in Israel. Since then it’s been quite the roller-coaster.

There have been periods where I’ve written 3-4 times a week – and dry spells where my fingers didn’t go near the keyboard for at least a fortnight.

I think that after so many years of working on news desks editing other people’s copy, telling other people what to write (and fuming when I never got what I asked for), it was time for me to start voicing my own opinions.

I didn’t really know if I could do it. If I actually had anything to say. I was frightened the blog would be empty most of the time.

But, turned out I had quite a bit on my mind. The feedback certainly kept me going and this blog has taken me to new places – hopefully some new and exciting projects you’ll hear about very soon.

Half & Half has been mostly politically oriented, but there’s also been some daddy-blogging, some doggy-blogging, some music-blogging, and even some food-blogging. But all through, I’ve tried to stay true to what it’s all about, which is basically summed up perfectly by the blog’s name – Half & Half: the feelings I have towards Israel and America and that good ‘ole identity crisis being the Levantine-Anglo that I am.

Over the past year I’ve learned that I defend my thoughts ferociously. Some readers may have already met with my wrath face-to-face. I thank you for not giving up on me, even when I may have been out of line.

I’ve also learned that satire is a great tool to get my ideas across and that it’s probably one of the things I enjoy writing most these days. Izzie, my witty, naughty, promiscuous mini-version of Israel, has given me immense pleasure inventing and developing. I see her existing no matter who controls the country, right or left. There’s something about her that symbolizes Israel to me more than any Jewish Agency pamphlet filled with crap about the Land of Milk and Honey ever will. May the Adventures of Izzie in HolyLand continue…

Furthermore, I’ve learned that there is a great need abroad to hear liberal left-wing views from Israelis themselves who can write in English. Yes, not all of us believe we’re the victim. And not all of us are grass-smokin’ hipsters who want to change the world. A lot of us couldn’t care less about this piece of land or that olive tree. We just want to have a nice quiet drink on the balcony every once in a while, and not have to occupy another people while doing it, or worry whether our kids are going to have to serve in the army, or worry if we’ll get nuked by Iran before that. A nice, quiet drink. That’s it.

Which reminds me of how The Dude from Big Leboswki, my role model, really had his priorities set straight when he said those timeless words of wisdom: “Hey, careful, man, there’s a beverage here!”

A few thanks

Hopefully this won’t sound like some gushing megalomaniac Oscar acceptance speech:

Thanks to my parents, my family, my friends and everyone else who took the time to comment, re-post on Facebook and re-tweet on Twitter. Any blogger will tell you that the number of hits may be important – but it’s all about people reading and feeling they have something to say, too.

Thanks to Anna Mussman, who made me think a bit more seriously about the blogging option. Anna was myEnglish teacher back in 10th grade in Haifa, and now she must be thinking something along the lines of Frankenstein’s “I’ve created a monster”, since I have a hunch that on some issues our views are, how to say, quite parallel (meaning, they’ll never meet). Hope you’re not mad, Anna!

Thanks to Lisa Goldman, who has promoted my blog on both Twitter and Facebook and is basically responsible for half the traffic I get on this site.

Thanks to Mohamed, an amazing Egyptian blogger who has helped me spread my words to the other side of the fence. I “met” Mo through this blog, and he comments on almost every post. History has pitted Mohamed and I on different sides, even though our goal is exactly the same – ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. He wants it for the freedom of his Arab brethren, and I want it for my own and for Israel’s collective conscience, so we can end this ongoing crime which eats at Israeli society from inside. Mohamed, I hope we can meet one day in Tel Aviv or Cairo over a beer and talk about everything BUT politics.

Thanks to my dear friend Sara Miller, who put me on the Haaretz website.

Thanks to Meir Javedanfar, who connected me with The Huffington Post – my traffic has doubled since then, Meir.

And finally, thanks to my wife Karen, who edits just about every piece I put up. Karen’s critique has made my posts sharper and my satire funnier. Raising two kids, we rarely have much time for ourselves, and much of the little time we do have I’ve “wasted” on this blog. So, thanks buba!

So, here’s to another year of thought-provoking material on Half and Half! And for those of you who like my writing but care a bit less for my views, well, allow me to quote The Dude just one last time: “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

And just to end on a whimsical note, here’s some definitions for “Half & Half” you probably never heard of…

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