With a heart filled with truth regarding my personal joy about my second home, Israel, I share my why and what from my time living there.

Seeing is believing in milk and honey after living in Israel for 14 years. My first trip to the Holy Land was really confusing, being that the only true father I knew, my “grandfather,” who was a Baptist minister, was open-hearted and had a connected view of all people and their religious beliefs.

Believe it or not, my love for the flowers, fruits, history and, most of all, the diversity of the Israeli people is stronger than love itself.

LaVon Mercer

Love is the basis of everything that Israel embodies and was provided to me freely. You see, my love for Israel comes from the place of a young black man who at one time was homeless and had to fight for everything to survive.

My love for Israel is due to all the Israeli brothers and sisters who embraced me — for the person that I was and for the person they saw me become.

Thank you, Israel, for letting me be part of your 70th birthday and sharing all of it with me.

See all the reflections on Israel’s meaning on this special anniversary.