Friday, March 04, 2011

A good day for Israel

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 3/4/11

David Horovitz writes today in the Jerusalem Post RE the “era defining series of popular uprisings”: “Exacerbating our concern is the striking failure of our much-vaunted intelligence services to see any of this coming.” We have heard that before, most recently when the money crashed, but first in our time with the fall of the Soviet Union. But all these things were well predicted, it was just that they who made the predictions were completely ignored by the press. It was suggested then that the fault fell to the feet of political science. It is not really a science, they said. Why don’t we just do without it and downsize by eliminating those departments of political science and sociology from the university? When history and literature and language were studied instead, knowing was complex and its practitioners vast.

I don’t know why Israeli intelligence is so confused by this because the conservative, bearded Israelis I’ve been talking to for a year now have been predicting a new Israel rising out of the old as a butterfly rises out of its casing; inevitably, turmoil would surround. But one of the problems I think is that the commentary in Israel is a Western/American hybrid. Jerusalem Post and Hareetz read like New York newspapers. But Israel is not by its nature a western country and increasingly it is no longer an America annex. It is a Jewish country.

I predict that this turmoil will bring a good day for Israel. Israel is awakening to a new generation. Rabbi Dov Ber will bring the rising karma; Lenny Bruce and Seinfeld will be left behind. It will be a generation which feels comfortable with bearded Russian rabbis – the kind that rode yellow school buses from Crown Heights to the Diamond District in New York 30 years ago to keep apart from us Jews and gentiles alike. Israelis will feel as comfortable with them as Tibetans do to Buddhist monks. They are/will be the heart of Israel. That rules out most of my New York friends of 30-years ago, but I find my college-age kids and their Jewish friends are increasingly comfortable with it.

The rabbis told us centuries back that the “gods” hide in lowly places, so I don’t look to the political scientists; they usually miss the turning as they did again this time. I do watch the Academy Awards. And this year brought a harbinger. The show was hosted by the immature and talentless Anne Hathaway and James Franco, representing the Hollywood that never grew up. But what was interesting was that the key awards brought our world back to first principles: The one was given to a British man in the role of an English king, an elder in our tradition. The other given to a Jerusalem-born woman who happened to be with child, representing a force even deeper and older; a force even timeless. I felt it suggested in archetypal terms a return to tradition and adulthood and a good day ahead. Possibly we will even find our center.

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