I have a friend who says she wants to move to Israel at crunch time. She is not Jewish, just a woman with an unusual conscience. “If the bombs are going to fall on them,” she says, “I want them to fall on me too.” You may regard this as extreme, and it is. But I understand her. She has the Holocaust in mind, for one thing.
I thought of my friend this morning when reading a dispatch from Tom Gross. Evgeny Kissin, the Soviet-born pianist, is taking Israeli citizenship. He has lived in Britain for many years. He is going to receive his new passport from maybe the greatest Soviet-born Jew of all, Natan (formerly Anatoly) Sharansky.
Unlike my friend, Kissin is Jewish, but his words reminded me of her nonetheless. He has written, “When Israel’s enemies try to disrupt concerts of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra or the Jerusalem Quartet, I want them to come and make troubles at my concerts, too: because Israel’s case is my case, Israel’s enemies are my enemies, and I do not want to be spared of the troubles which Israeli musicians encounter when they represent the Jewish State beyond its borders.”
Again, that dispatch from Tom Gross (son of the great, unforgettable John).