Monday, May 05, 2008

60 years on, the Dream of the Jewish State

Some fascinating snippets of history are posted by a thoughtful Tim Franks, on the BBC Jerusalem Diary

"Here, everyone begrudges everyone else," President Shimon Peres is quoted as saying.

So what do Israelis make of their compatriots, and their state? Check out the BBC Today programme's interviews with "five tribes" of the Holy Land: secular, settler, ultra-orthodox, Palestinian (the man in question rejects the label "Israeli Arab"), and a non-Jewish Russian immigrant.The one thing the five share is that they all hold Israeli citizenship.

# Yuli, the secular trainee teacher from Jerusalem: "The moment that people will prefer to deal with their own stuff, and dream their own dreams, rather than the dreams of the big Jewish nation, maybe the situation will get better."

# Shoshana, the settler from Qedumim: "This is the Middle East: another language, another code. It's not Europe; it's not America… My father, who built this state, always told us that we have to pay a tax, a price, for living here. We have an obligation to pay, as we don't have any other place to go."

# Mohammed, the Palestinian from a village near Nazareth: "The way Israel deals with its Arab minority is the indication of how the world should deal with the Jewish minority. If Israel continues to discriminate against the Arab minority in Israel, it has no moral right to speak against discrimination against Jews around the world."

# Jonathan, the Haredi (ultra-orthodox man) from Jerusalem: "Israel was meant to create a New Jew - the idea that the term Jew was not enough, and we had to create something new, something that was a rejection in many respects of the Jew of the exile. But that New Jew has turned out to be a chimera."

# Mila, the non-Jewish Russian immigrant, now living in Gedera: "I am not a Jew, no. But when I sing songs in class about love for the land of Israel, it's just like in Russia when we would have moments of love for our homeland. Then when I hear the songs and spoke with older Arabs, my heart hurts and I start to cry."

Izzy Bee is still out of the country at the moment, but will touch down at Ben Gurion Airport to embark on the nation's 61st year.


Edie said...

If there's mention of Israel's celebration of 60 years as a nation, a mention of what that 'celebration' means for over 7 million Palestinians - their ethnic cleansing and loss of their homes and land should also be mentioned. The majority of Palestinians still either live in refugee camps and/or under occupation.

I regret having to remind everyone of this, but since it's the root of the conflict and conflict will continue as long as it's ignored, it seems ingenuous to mention the celebration without mentioning the original transgression/tragedy.

For those interested, check out or simply google 'al nakba'.

izzy bee said...

Point taken.
Overlooking the partition and occupation is not the way to mark this occasion. Thanks for the reminder