State and Country

It's the country I love. It's what I missed in the many years I spent away from here, these sights and senses haunted my dreams, until I gave in and returned. If this were just my own predilection it wouldn't matter at all, but there many Israelis who feel as I do. We're attached to this place by thousands of fine threads - verbal, musical,, visual, olfactory, and others that have yet to be named. This deep affection binds us not only to this country, but to each other.

The State of Israel, however, is something else. It has alienated many of the children of this country - and I don't mean the Palestinian Arabs, to whom the establishment of the state in 1948 was a terrible catastrophe, an unhealing wound. I'm speaking about Jewish natives of this country who are pained and shamed by Israel's conduct in almost every aspect of its existence. We feel torn, because we still love the country, but we cannot love the state.

On the other hand, there are people here - and they occupy positions of power and influence - who love the state, and don't really care about the country. They have no qualms about cutting down old, fruitful olive trees, about spraying herbicide on thriving fields, bulldozing hillsides, contaminating the country's few streams and rivers, blowing up beautiful old villages, and pouring effluent into the Mediterranean. To them, the state is everything - it is what gives them their identity, their importance, and above all their power - military, economic and international. The state is their be-all and end-all, and they worship it like the Moloch. And that is the essence of fascism.