June 10, 2007
Israelis ask what they have gained since Six-Day War (Steven Erlanger, June 9, 2007, NY Times)
[A]s Israel marks 40 years after an extraordinary victory, there is far less exultation than questioning about the war's impact on the country, and grave doubts about the future. There is a debate about what kind of country Israel is, about the impact those 40 years of development, immigration, war, settlement and occupation have had on the dreams of those who chose to make their lives here. And there is a widespread feeling that both left and right are out of answers. [...]
"What everyone feels, no matter their politics or their understanding of the 1967 war, is a deep disappointment in themselves," said Yossi Klein Halevi, an Israeli writer and analyst on the center right. "As a people, we haven't carried on this story with the gravitas it deserves. We've been flippant. There's a sense that all of us have abrogated responsibility for the Jewish story that brought us here."
It is true, he said, that the early Zionists talked of building a "normal country." But "they meant a nation externally normalized and internally exceptional."
"Sometimes it feels we've done the reverse," he said. "We didn't want this to be one more mundane country with a mundane morality."
Of all people, one might have expected the Jews to avoid the cancer of nationalism. But, as Eric Hoffer noted: "The manner in which a mass movement starts...can also have an effect on the duration and mode of termination of the active phase of the movement." It may be that a founding so wrapped up in ethnic identity was destined to forfeit a grounding in ideas. Posted by Orrin Judd at June 10, 2007 12:29 PM