|Pro-Israel demonstration, Chicago 2004|
I've gotten in the habit of pretty much ignoring what goes on in the Promised Land. Everything there is a problem (Promised to whom?) particularly as its government continues the rightward slide toward nationalism so poisoning our own country.
While America, under the leadership of Donald Trump, is trying to be great again by harassing refugees and flipping the bird to immigrants, Israel joins the fun by reminding its non-Jewish residents of the Jewish state, officially by a new "Nation-State" law, that they don't belong, don't run things and never will.
Is that helpful? To insecure nationalists, sure. To those trying to nudge Israel toward a viable future in the 21st century, not so much.
A full-time job, opposing that slide in our own country. To keep our own religious fanatics from trying to turn the supposedly neutral government into an auxiliary of their church, in league with the least religious, least moral president since ... well, ever.
Given that, why bother with Israel? Because by seeing how Israelis combat their problems gives us a hint how to cope with our own.
So — talk about burying the lede — what's the good news out of Israel that has me smiling?
A thousand Israelis took part in a mass Arabic lesson at Habima Square in Tel Aviv Monday night, to protest to the new Nation-State Law which, among other ominous rumblings, downgraded the status of the Arabic language because, well, nationalists like to stick their thumb in the eyes of those they consider beneath them. It's makes them feel better about themselves, which is what nationalism is all about: dressing up in the shiny uniform of your own people, strutting about and pretending to be magnificent.
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