Sunday, May 11, 2008

Can Israel survive?

The Atlantic’s Jeffery Goldberg, has written a thoughtful piece to mark Israel’s 60th anniversary. One way to understand the profound difference between Israel and the U.S. is that 94% of Jewish Israelis said they are willing to fight for their country, while only 63% of Americans are willing to fight for ours. Yet at the same time, a remarkable 44% of Israelis said they would be ready to leave their country if they could find a better standard of living abroad. There are already roughly 40,000 Israelis in Silicon Valley and more than a half million in the U.S. Life is so dangerous in Israel, a country most of its Arab neighbors still won’t accept.

Goldberg lasers in on the key paradox Israel faces. To make headway with its Palestine neighbor, Israel must stop building settlements on the West Bank, and get ready to give most up. It must, but it can’t, even though we are talking about only 200,000 people. It’s the settlers who are most determined to stay, and sons of the settlements now account for more than 25% of the Israeli officer corps.

Sharon might have fixed the settlement problem. Tragic.

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