Savagery and Solidarity

I There are facets of my being of which I am ashamed, but the love of my people is not one of them. (Reader, hear me out.) The bond is primordial, though I am under no illusion that its primordiality exempts it from thoughtful consideration and the question of justification. It has nothing to do with biology: peoplehood does not reach that deeply. The species precedes all the peoples, all the differentiations, even if they go to great pains to disguise this humane fact. A happy childhood surely had something to do with the formation of my national love. I was raised to be a loyal son of my people, and this instruction, much of it unspoken, delighted me; to this day I tingle at the sight of a Torah, and I cheer when my plane hits the tarmac at Ben Gurion airport. I do so unthinkingly, because expressions of profound affiliation are often made prior to reflection, the way happiness at the sight of someone I love does not await a process of validation. Long before politics enter the picture, I respond with a visceral joy to the feel of the soil of the land of Israel beneath my feet, and to the sight of its punished stones and its giddy deserts and its voluptuous forests and its cathartic sea; my very senses feel Jewish, even if I know better. For me this land will always be the land, though I am not at all against sharing it. For the sake of my brothers and sisters who live in it, I long for the day when it will be peaceably shared. And Hebrew is my island paradise; a portable paradise, a paradise unlimited by place, which is the most perfect paradise of all. I have loved it ever since

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