The Corner


Israeli Thoughts

At midday in Tel Aviv, June 2, 2019 (Jay Nordlinger)

On the homepage today, I have a “Tel Aviv Journal,” here. Israel is a fascinating, exhausting, critically important country. It is a journalist’s feast, among other things. (Israel would rather not be a feast, believe me.) Dr. Johnson said that he who is tired of London is tired of life. Something like that applies to Israel (though Israel would like to be less interesting, believe me).

In this journal, I have a variety of items, cultural, political, and psychological, you could say. Here is a little sample, something light:

At my table, there is a man named Moishe. “Oh, like ‘Moses,’” I say. “No,” he replies. “‘Moses’ is like ‘Moishe.’”

That is one of the greatest replies I have ever heard …

Ten years ago, I had a long talk with Charles Krauthammer, writing it up here. Let me do a little quoting:

Of Israel, Krauthammer has long been a leading student, defender, and explainer. Asked the bald question of whether Israel will survive, he says, “If it doesn’t, I think it will mark the beginning of the terminal decay of Western civilization.” … Krauthammer believes that Israel needs two things to survive: the will to live, and the support of the United States. He believes that Israel has demonstrated a very great will to live, especially in its defeat of the “second intifada.” And he has “great faith in the goodness of America,” a goodness that will not let Israel go to the dogs.

One more link, if I may. In 2015, I wrote an essay called “Hung Up on Israel: An explanation for the sincere.” I had a hook, namely a debate in the Republican presidential primaries.

After the debate, some observers wondered, “Why so much attention to Israel? Are these people running for president of the United States or president of Israel?”

I myself have received similar questions over the years. People ask, sometimes with scorn, sometimes with sincere curiosity, “Why do you write so much about Israel? Why are you hung up on Israel?” I would think the answer were obvious. But if it were, people would not ask these questions. And honest questions deserve honest answers.

Above in this post, I wrote, “Israel would like to be less interesting, believe me.” The longing for normality is a recurring theme in Israel — right from its founding (or re-founding) in 1948. Perhaps normality will arrive one day, and a happy day that will be.

In the meantime …

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