Thursday, June 10, 2010

on israel

Great piece in the NY Review of Books - you should read it. It echoes what I've been thinking all along, that the sweet, innocent Israel of my youth (50's and 60's) is long gone.

It discusses the demographics that today's American Jewish youth are largely ambivalent to the Zionist passions that affected so many in my generation.

The split between the older defend-Israel-always attitude and the but-wait-aren't-they-really-oppressors sensibility was brought home to me a few days ago, during a casual conversation with one of the older guys who sings with the chorus at the Jewish Assisted Living home (where I have been playing piano weekly for several years).

Refering to the current tensions between Israel and Turkey (and knowing that Karen and I were in Turkey a couple of years ago), he asked, "do you have relatives in Turkey?" I said, no, we were just tourists. That seemed to be an invitation to discuss the current bad stuff and I made a comment along the lines of "I just knew when Netanyahu was elected Prime Minister that he would be a disaster."

My friend bristled and said, "what do you mean, he's exactly the kind of tough leader that we need, unlike that Obama."

We changed the subject soon thereafter.

I grew up in a home where the UJA 'pushke' (those little blue boxes with the map of Israel on the front and a coin slot on top) was always present, and I was always encouraged to 'put a penny in the pushke'. I was active in Young Judaea all thru high-school and was even in an (shudders to think about it) Israeli folk-dancing group.

But this Israeli government, and a large segment of Israeli society, seems on the wrong side of history and the quest for Human Rights - you know, the one that began when we were slaves in Egypt.

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