Conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians is an issue about which everybody and her uncle has an opinion, typically quite strongly held. Who’s entitled to that fraught sliver of rock and desert? What might be accomplished for many who had been displaced? Who can predict the destiny of Jews should Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank turn into a single state? Much will depend on how we frame these vexing questions. Both Palestinian Arabs, who endure the constant indignity of occupation, and Jewish Israelis, who dwell with the existential threat posed by rockets and bombs, lay claim to the mantle of victimhood.
Dear Zealots Letters From A Divided Land By Amos Oz
Both populations would undergo from extreme PTSD in the event that they had been ever submit the traumatic part. Into this seemingly endless miasma of dysfunction and despair wades the good Israeli creator Amos Oz, offering both a prognosis and a prescription. Readers of open thoughts ought to take heed. Within the time between once i determined to jot down about Dear Zealots and now, Amos Oz died at 78, from cancer. His dying is a tragedy for Jews and Arabs alike since his singular voice just isn’t considered one of politics or airy bromides but of humanness.
My use of the phrase “humanness” is not to suggest anything of the dewy-eyed kumbaya selection. While I do not know how he acted at weddings and bar mitzvahs, I can report that Oz is obvious-eyed and unsentimental in this book. It is an astringent humanity to which he subscribes, one which acknowledges that beneath a kippah or keffiyeh, everyone seems to be flawed. The trilogy of trenchant, effectively-argued essays that comprise Dear Zealots signify a long time of accrued wisdom in regards to the state of affairs into which the author was born (Jerusalem, 1939) and spent his career considering and writing about. With deft brushstrokes, Oz charts his evolution from what he describes as “a little Zionist-nationalist fanatic” to the more measured, circumspect crusader for peace that he turned. To paraphrase the philosopher Eric Hoffer, great causes will often start as movements and wind up as cults or rackets. In Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke lectures a reader primed to glean the knowledge being proffered by an accomplished elder; the young writer reads it with notebook in hand.
Although Oz’s ebook is named Dear Zealots, it’s onerous to think about any zealot eager to learn the author’s ruminations with reference to how one would possibly rethink the extremist path. This is a shame. But it’s undeniable that even those of us who are not wreaking precise havoc within the agora might profit from a little bit extra circumspection. The three essays are about, respectively, fanaticism (therefore the title), the elemental components of Judaism that render zealotry of any kind unacceptable, and the author’s plan for unwinding the current stalemate within the neighborhood. His views of the antagonists on both sides of the conflict are unsparing. The zealots of the title are, in Oz’s development, those shouting Death to the Jews as well as these shouting Death to the Arabs. Yet he stays convinced the combatants can all at some point eat from the same bowl of regionally sourced hummus. His book is effectively timed, and not just for these fascinated within the Middle East.