…Ari Shavrit’s “My Promised Land.”
The last couple years, I’ve been reading books abut Israel. Half I trade back in at Moe’s or Pegasus, but this one’s a keeper. It’s informative and beautifully written. My brother-in-law, Gordie, who teaches on the subject, calls it “Brilliant.” It’s a history, presented via jumps over decades and throwing focus on individuals who represent different aspects of — and possess differing views about — Israel.
My readings, as I’ve said previously to notable lack of acclaim, have led me to conclude that geo-politics is essentially tribes squabbling over dirt, and that nations no longer seem such a good idea. Nothing in MPL causes me to modify these beliefs, nor the opinion that, if you are going to have nations, Israel has as much right to being one as anybody. The land its got is its until someone takes it away through force or barter. Which, within a century or two, if we are still here, I expect someone will.
Shavrit augments Israel’s right to remain Israel by emphasizing the special nature of its people and their achievement. (Not “chosen,” “special.”) But I did have one new thought while reading his book. The need for a homeland for Jews seemed to have arisen from two threats to their extinction. One, in Europe, was extermination. The other, in America, was assimilation.
The danger of extermination is clear, but I wonder about assimilation. Gene-wise, where’s the cost to mankind in that? If the quality of the planet’s Jews is diminished, isn’t the quality of its Gentiles raised to an equivalent degree?
Well, no one ever said genetics was my strong point. I never got, in fact, beyond pea plants,