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Israel: It's more complicated than that

I'm on the shores of Kinneret (Sea of Galilee to Christians) for Israel's version of FOO Camp. A great time so far, after visiting Haifa and the area. To Tel Aviv on Sunday to speak at the Marker's internet conference for those of you who are in the area.

The title reflects what I was told is sort of a national catchphrase. This is indeed a complex country. The first thing you can't avoid seeing is the massive amount of security. Going into ordinary buildings, even a shopping mall can be like going to the airport in many places. Like fish in water, however, many Israelis no longer notice it the way a visitor does. Scores of times a day you will see groups of IDF with submachineguns slung on their backs, as well as solo soldiers, as all Israelis do a tour in the army. And at the same time all I have seen has been tranquil and very friendly.

More observations upon my return, bit of blogging break until then.

Comments

I have family in Israel and when I visited the thing I was most surprised by was how mixed the communities are. Most western news broadcasts paint a very segregated picture, but many Jews and Arabs live side-by-side as neighbours with not a single iota of hostility between them. I learned that most of the problems in Israel are created by 10% of the population while the other 90% try to live in peace. Sad reflection on society that so few people can screw it up for so many.

menexis's picture

I love that area, especially Tel Aviv. I agree with you that this place can be very friendly. When I visited in 2008, I did not get the impression of hostility at all, most of the soldiers are very friendly when you pass them on the street.

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