Well, it's that certainly. Such was the point of its creation in 1948, which wasn't about efficiency of things like that. Under mandate from the League of Nations, the British had been doing a characteristically admirable British job of looking after a foreign territory -- building roads, administering justice, and such like. The Jews had a different vision for Palestine, as it was then known. They saw the vision enacted at last, and in paraphrase of the Creation narrative it was good.
It was good for reasons that non-Jews could appreciate if they opened their eyes. The Israel that flowered in the midst of an anti-democratic Arab world, antithetical to the West, was democratic and pro-Western.
A lot might be wrong, philosophically and practically, with Israel's socialist economics, but Israel was always one of us: a constituent member, that is to say, of the community of civilized nations. Losing Israel as a member of that community would be like losing Nebraska or Pennsylvania or Georgia. It would be far worse, indeed, than losing "people's paradises" like San Francisco or Cambridge, Mass.
This isn't at all the way that President Obama sees things. To the president, Israel is a trouble spot -- a running sore on the international carcass. Heal the sore and you've got peace. The idea is, have Israel offer to retreat, by and large, behind its pre-Six Day War lines, making room thereby for a Palestinian state.
The improbability of that vision -- or delusion -- is to be glimpsed by looking around the neighborhood. Who is rioting or repressing? The Egyptians. The Syrians. The Libyans. This is to speak only of the currently noisier nations.
When was the last time we saw throngs of Israelis filling public squares to call for their leaders' ouster or demise? When was the last time we saw Israeli security forces shooting down unarmed demonstrators? The answer to both questions is the same: We haven't ever seen it. It hasn't happened. Massacres in the Middle East are a phenomenon we see outside Israel, not within.
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