Saturday, February 27, 2016

Hossam Haick: Giving a local historical rooting to a celebrity

As a Palestinian citizen of Israel I want to claim Prof. Haick as ‘mine’ on all kinds of levels. It is difficult to believe this super-scientist is one of us. To appreciate why, I wish you would first read the laudatory Associated Press report in the New York Times:

First of all Prof. Haick is my neighbor. He was born and grew up in Nazareth and attended the same school, St. Joseph High School, that my daughter attended briefly, though she did that a couple of years before him. And I attended high school in Nazareth as well but in a different school and in an altogether different epoch. Need I remind the reader who else grew up in that town? Or who St. Joseph was? So Hossam and I have a lot of proud connections.

There are many Palestinian Haick families, I am sure. But in the vicinity of Nazareth most of the Haicks I know are originally from the village of Eilaboun, which makes Hossam my next-door neighbor. Here is something from my book of memoirs about the special relationship between our two villages in 1948, provided, that is, my hunch about his Eilaboun roots is proven correct; it is an account from an old man I meet on the road one day:

“Your good father must have told you about how the farmers of Arrabeh and Sakhnin worked the land of Eilaboun in the Battouf when its Christian residents were driven out to Lebanon [in 1948 by the Jewish forces].  Their priest, al-Khouri Murqus al-Mualem, may his soul rest in peace, an honorable man if there ever was one in these parts, sent out an SOS message asking for help.  Every farmer in your and my village took their work animals and equipment to the abandoned land of Eilaboun in the valley and in no time had it plowed and planted with wheat.  By the time al-Khouri Murqus managed to use his influence with the Pope to bring his people back, they returned to find their crops ready for harvest.  We helped them bring it in as well.  That is how honorable neighbors care for each other, not by selling the land to the Jews for paper money.”

‘Haick’ as in Hossam or ‘Hayek’ as in Selma is Arabic for Weaver or one who nets or crochets or does needlework on cloth. From there, I am tempted to believe, the distance to nanotechnology is short. So, you see, Professor Hossam Haick is part and parcel of our daily rural Palestinian lifestyle, not some distant intellectual or scientific prodigy orbiting in the mysterious academic space of scientific institutions whether in Israel or California. As I said, I am trying hard to believe he is one of us.

In my eagerness to claim a share in the good professor/researcher/inventor, I am happy to discover that we agree on several points of principle. Take the opening statement in the above-mentioned report that I hope you have already read by now:

“Hossam Haick, whose breakthrough work in nanotechnology has garnered global accolades, says his success as an Arab citizen of Israel proves that education knows no boundaries and is key to improving his community's lot.”

Of course, I agree with my good neighbor’s assessment! Notice though while reading the article that its author takes the cautious stand of using the politically accepted practice in official Israeli circles, and hence in America as well, of referring to us, the Palestinian citizens of Israel, as ‘Israel’s Arabs’ except later on when speaking of “Palestinian-Israeli violence”, the one single time that the un-kosher term is used. Here is my take on the subject, this time from the introduction to my collection of short stories, Chief Complaint: A Country Doctor’s Tales of Life in Galilee, (Just World Books, 2015.)

“Yes, in the ‘state of the Jews’ education is the Palestinians’ strong card: We are proud sumud and education freaks. Entire families pool their combined labor wages to support a student through college. Young professionals are hard at work to guarantee their community a future and measure up to the high expectations of their hard slugging artisan fathers and mothers, descendants of land-stripped subsistence farmers. The practice and the tradition should be enough to sustain us in the face of the gathering storm.”

The head of the Technion, the oldest Israeli university and the home research and teaching institute of Prof. Haick, sees the same factual situation and reaches the same conclusion. Except that he puts the onus of their relative regressive state, by implication, on the Arab students:

"He is an extraordinary talent," said Peretz Lavie, the president of the Technion. "He shows ... there is no glass ceiling and no discrimination in science. He serves as a role model to youth in the (Arab) sector, that if they invest in education they can go far."

I am not accusing the Associated Press or the NYT of open enmity to Palestinians in this report but rather of abiding by the self-imposed Israeli and AIPAC rules of discourse in which positive terminology is reserved for Jewish Israel and negative associations for Palestine and Palestinians. The latter are best not mentioned at all by specific name so as not to grant them linguistic recognition that may well lead to them agitating for political recognition. For more on the charged topic of partiality in reporting please see the article at the following link:

And here is one last connection I want to claim: quite early on, in 2013 I registered for Prof. Haick’s online course on nanotechnology and nanosensors . Unfortunately, I wasn’t persistent enough to gain all the potential benefits. In my own defense I will say this: I registered in the course more as a vote of confidence in and a gesture of seeking to associate with the rising star even if only intellectually and at a distance. It was that rather than gaining new knowledge that drove me subconsciously, I now admit in retrospect. Contrary to the classic saying, it is never too late to learn ‘new tricks.’ But, starting with the premise based on which I registered for the course, I faced a wide array of choices. As a physician I am impressed daily by the names and achievements of so many young physicians right in my neck of the woods. In 1970 when I returned to my home village of Arrabeh I was the only western-trained physician in an area of Galilee of over 50 thousand people, including Eilaboun. In a recent survey Arrabeh alone boasts having 280 physicians. There are too many stars for me to gaze at, you understand, Prof. Haick. I guess I blinked and missed out on all the benefits of your full course. I know you will forgive me this once.

You know what! I almost forgot! I also was knighted by the French. Except that my armor never shined because I don’t speak their language.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Pure Rubbish

We had hardly survived the wrath of Donald Trump against all of us Moslems before it was the folks in Lubbock, Texas up in arms about Arabs and their Language. Someone displayed a sign in Arabic declaring “Love to all” and Texans read hate and danger as the message behind that slogan. Here is an example of how the incident was reported:
Banner Bearing Arabic Message of Love Reported to Homeland Security and FBI: Officials in Lubbock, Texas, shut down traffic and called for an investigation in response to a publicly displayed banner.
I know you don’t believe me. Here is the link. Go ahead and read it for yourself:

You would be forgiven to ask what was wrong with declaring “Love to all” on Valentine’s Day. Let me share a secret about the sick logic of those behind the ruse. In the Arabic language there is an accepted linguistic trick that may well be applicable here. It involves the speaker taking poetic license by using the opposite word of what one wants to say but would rather avoid saying. Just bear with me while I illustrate this slight of linguistic hand for you: Like Arabs, their desert snakes tend to be nasty in the extreme.  One bite from one of those shiny orange ones with the baklava-shaped* marking on its head and you better say your good-byes in a hurry. Now guess what Arabs call a man bitten by a snake? They call him ‘saleem’. In the original, that is Arabic for ‘healthy’ or ‘well.’ How more sick can you get, figuratively and literally speaking?

To the few among us who keep track of the underhanded ways of Arabs -- and you have to know their impossible language and its devious Islamic underpinnings to be able to do that -- it is no surprise that Arabs and Moslems are targeting Lubbock, the pulsating heart of all that America stands for: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The conspiracy is much wider than anyone realizes though. It all started in 2008 when the Arabs managed to sneak an undercover Moslem into the White House. “Allahu Akbar,”** is all I say to that! They then looked at the United States’ political structure and decided to cover the opposite side of the spectrum as well. They wanted to gain the sympathies of the conservatives as well. That is when they decided to go to the heart of the matter, so to speak. Very few people know it, of course, but you ask the leadership of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the former commanders of Saddam Hussein’s Palace Guards, and they will share a dark secret with you***: For five years, two months and twenty-four days****, they kept Saddam’s heart in liquid nitrogen and then snuck it in to be inserted in Dick Cheney’s chest when he needed a transplant. Need I tell you that Cheney’s behavior has changed since he had an Arab heart in his chest? How many “hunting accidents” has he had with his fellow Muslim President?!

You speak to any Arab and they will admit to being guilty as charged: They will admit, if not declare proudly, that their Quran with its poetry and eloquence and all the wisdom that they claim it is chuck full of, exemplifies the highest achievement of the Arabic language. They, Muslims and Arabs, -- and believe you me, you cannot tell the two apart, especially when all their women walk around in black mini-tents and their men wear those colorful big turbans with bands under their bushy beards to hold them in place***** -- will tell you, if they know how to speak in the first place, that their holy book and its language is the only miracle that their prophet ever claimed to have performed. So, let us step back and look at their mess for a moment: Their Arabic language is so darn mixed up with their religion and their religion so inseparable from their daily lives that it is enough to give a Texan sheriff a headache if not a scare. And that, in short, is exactly what has happened.

“Love to all!” Who are they fooling?! And the sneakiness is a basic trait of all Semitics. I am not sure if the two were connected, but I swear to you, on the same fateful day I saw an ambulance on the streets of New York that had “Hatzala” written on it in big Hebrew letters. The term meant “saving” people's lives. I started running but my companion, an American of European extraction who couldn't read Hebrew, stopped me. I translated the term for him and expressed my fear of the opposite intentions of the ambulance operators.  He reassured me. Those in the ambulance must be out collecting the blood of healthy Christian children for their matzoth******, he explained. I had nothing to fear since I didn’t qualify on all three counts, he reassured me.

* The Middle-Eastern sweet comes in diamond-shaped bite-size pieces.
** An expression meaning “God is great” used by Moslems to express amazement.
*** If they trust you enough, that is.
**** The period between the hanging of Saddam Hussein and the operation in which Dick Cheney received a heart implant from an anonymous donor.
***** Since 9/11 several attacks on Sikhs in the USA, including one death, have been reported based on them being mistaken for Moslems.

****** This is the mother of all anti-Semitic blood libels based on which pogroms were committed against Jewish communities in Europe.

Monday, February 15, 2016

‘New Yorker’ glosses my reality

‘New Yorker’ glosses my reality (when it renders ‘Death to Arabs’ chant as ‘I hate all Arabs’)

I am a Palestinian citizen of Israel since day one of its establishment.  I studied in the USA and am familiar enough with American media to appreciate the lead place of The New Yorker in it as well as the dearth of positive articles on Palestinians, not to mention Palestinian citizens of Israel, in this realm.  You can imagine how surprised I was to discover that my fellow Palestinian, Ayman Odeh, was featured front and centre in the coveted pages of the prime intellectual weekly of the United States (Seeds of Peace: Ayman Odeh’s unlikely crusade, The New Yorker, Jan.25, 2016.)  And the lengthy account is by the periodical’s chief editor, no less, David Remnick.  I read it right away and was duly impressed by the many accolades my friend Ayman is awarded in it.  
Only four months before I had read another positive piece by Ruth Margalit about the Palestinian writer from Israel Sayed Kashua (An Exile in the Corn Belt: Israel’s funniest Palestinian writer decamps to the Midwest, The New Yorker, Sept. 7, 2015.) Now I was positively elated.  Finally our issues were getting significant attention in America, I wanted to believe.  Average Americans can no longer claim that they didn’t know we existed.  That has protective value for us; it makes it less likely that anyone will  rub us off or throw us out – such existential fears resurface every time we hear sabre rattling at the borders with Lebanon or Syria.  Exaggerated you say?  But the top military echelons have leaked such ‘drawer’ contingency plans.
I’ve reread both articles repeatedly.  Very well written indeed.  But there is a bitter aftertaste.  Its source in the end is quite basic:  both writers unequivocally favour Israel over my ilk and me.  I know my two friends, the subjects of the articles, live with that and so do I– we have done so for decades.  We are aware of the American tendency to favour our Jewish co-citizens that parallels the same injustice those co-citizens inflict on us daily by making us second class to them. In fact it is systemic throughout American media, academia and politics. Over the many decades of suffering this disenfranchisement we have developed the ability to sniff its existence at a considerable distance.

Sayed Kashua:
The older of the two articles, the one about Kashua, rates a score of eight on my scale of one to ten degrees of favoritism.  True, Margalit does justice to her subject, our Palestinian Hebrew-language author, in her literary assessment of him.  He comes across as the insightful and skilfully self-and-other-mocking writer whose weekly column I have followed in the Israeli daily, Haaretz. And that is great.  But Margalit tones down the negativity of the negative in Israel every chance she has.  Kashua’s TV series, Arab Labor, for example is reported to have won him fans even among “taxi drivers and supporters of Beitar.”  Margalit has to explain to her American reader what that means.  “[A] Jerusalem soccer club whose right-wing fans have been known to chant ‘I hate all Arabs.'”  I live in Israel.  And this stuff is online.  I know Beitar’s chants.  They usually are “Death to Arabs,” a chant heard regularly at political rallies of the right.  I don’t believe I’ve come across the chanting of “I hate all Arabs”.  
But the death chant seems too vulgar for Margalit to include.  Hating is less uncivil. Theodor Herzl threw himself into Zionism after he heard people shouting “Death to the Jews” in Paris. Is there any question how the New Yorker would report that?
While describing Kashua’s living arrangement in Jerusalem, the author fails to explain Israel’s near total residential segregation by ethnicity as well as the separate educational systems and the prioritization of the Jewish towns and schools over the Arab ones.  The American reader who lacks the background to appreciate the steep gradients in both arenas, is unlikely to grasp the significance of Kashua’s move to the Jewish Jerusalem suburb.  The exceptional circumstance of his escape with his wife and children from the depravity and drudgery of state enforced segregation to the upscale adequacy of the American suburb such as it is, is willingly glossed over. Only recent violence is highlighted.
Then this:
“Many Arabs, like Kashua, consider themselves both Palestinian and Israeli, a bifurcated identity that speaks to years of strife and longing.”
Very nicely put!  And in such a poetic turn of phrase, almost romantic. When in fact the real experience that people such as myself can’t stop bemoaning is one of loss of land and culture and the absolute negation of everything that we once were proud of. “Bifurcated identity” is far too mild a term for the dormant anger and disappointment that roils us.  Israel destroyed a thriving culture and is hard at work replacing it with another from which it excludes us.  That is not only “bifurcated.”  It is a bitch!  I know because I live it.
But why raise contentious issues when all we are talking about is TV entertainment.  Margalit provides some facts on that front:
“Although Arab Israelis represent a fifth of the the population, in 2011 they made up one per cent of the characters on national TV and, according to a report by the agency that oversees commercial broadcasts in Israel, ‘usually appear in the context of crime and violence.'”
Yet there is no field, socio-economic, cultural, educational or juridical, where the two groups approach anything like equity.  Shouldn’t that be mentioned as background?  And it is all based on rules and regulations grounded in the legislative inventiveness of the “only democracy in the Middle East.”  And we haven’t touched on the trigger-happy security forces who kill fellow Arab citizens with impunity.

Ayman Odeh:
I can’t stop admiring David Remnick’s astuteness in picking Ayman Odeh as his subject and for spotlighting Nardin, his good wife and daughter of my neighbours and friends.  The two exemplify the generation we, the levelheaded in Israel, hang our hopes on.  But Remnick’s account too is skewed starting with the context-setting.  In defining the Palestinian Nakbah he states:
“In 1947-48, the Palestinians rejected a United Nations plan to create a Jewish state and an Arab state by partition….”
Except that this occurs after a successful decades-old European colonial project that continues to swallow up Palestine and erase Palestinians to this day.
Another example of guile:
“This was the moment when Yasir Arafat, who had ordered terror attacks against Israelis for decades, and Yitzhak Rabin, who had reportedly ordered Israeli soldiers to “break the bones” of young Palestinians who hurled stones at them during the first intifada, signed a peace agreement and shook hands on the White House lawn.”
Notice the confirmed “terror” labeling of Arafat against the “reportedly” qualification when speaking of Rabin.  Though it is a historical fact that Rabin had commanded over the killing of many more Palestinians than Arafat ever did Israelis.  One doesn’t have to include mention of massacres of 1948 like that of Lydda– but you could have balanced the language a little.
Closer to home, Remnick speaks of Ayman living in Haifa, “a mixed city.”  Haifa (like the handful of other so-called mixed cities in Israel) is a Jewish city with an Arab slum or two, sometimes bordered with barbwire.  “Mixed” glosses ghettoisation.
Likewise, he refers to Land Day as “the commemoration among Palestinian Israelis of a 1976 rally.”  This severely undercuts the event’s significance, an occasion commemorated across the entire Palestinian nation as the first peaceful uprising against Israel after 1948.  I lived it.  We intended to strike for one day and Rabin ordered his crack troops in tanks into our peaceful villages and killed six of our youth.  It certainly was not “a rally” and you are docked brownie points again. So you get an eight as well.

To be honest, I have mixed feeling about the New Yorker’s new awareness of the existence of the minoritized Palestinians in Israel.  I would probably part with an arm and a leg to have one of my short stories featured in your pages, David Remnick.  But would you do that if the spirit of such a story were to go against the pro-Israel grain?  To judge by my analysis so far, I would have to demonstrate a more accepting, if not admiring or loving attitude toward my country of citizenship if I am to even be considered.  Mind you, I am not accusing anyone of selling out.  But both Ayman – a parliament member — and Sayed–a writer in Hebrew–are easy to integrate into the image of a democratic and inclusive Israel.  And it is the shaky groundwork upon which they are introduced that limits the impact they may have.
This piece was originally published at The Institute for Palestine Studies. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

In Memory of Dov Yermiya

In Memory of Dov Yermiya

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On Saturday, January 30, 2016 a frail old man with a handlebar moustache, piercing eyes and a constant smile passed away at the ripe old age of 101 in a kibbutz he had helped found in north Israel. Had I been at home I probably would have attended his funeral out of respect for the man. Dov Yermiya was an acquaintance of mine for many years. After a successful soldiering career in the Hagana forces that established the state of Israel to become its official army, he turned peace activist, met with PLO representatives when that was still illegal in Israel and, in 2009, renounced Zionism altogether in protest against its premeditated slaughter in Gaza.
One thing on which Dov and I never saw eye to eye was 1948. He fully accepted what happened and sought to smooth things over with neighborly gestures of kindness to those like me who survived the Nakba and stayed on the Israeli side of the boarder. To his credit, Dov saw the injustice of the military rule that Israel imposed on us, its Arab citizens, for the first two decades of our new citizenship. He refused to accept the post of Military Governor of Nazareth, the one major Palestinian city that miraculously escaped active cleansing in 1948. Dov had participated in the city’s takeover by the Hagana. He went on to agitate for the ending of the draconian system originally promulgated by the British Mandate Government to handle Jewish troublesome gangs in Palestine headed by the likes of Menahim Begin and Yitzhak Shamir.
Another famous feat of Dov’s soldiering career: In the 1982 war on Lebanon, which actually was a war against the Palestinian refugees that he had expelled from their homes in Galilee to the other side of Israel’s northern border, Dov volunteered to serve in the invading forces as the officer in charge of foreign civilians. I recall our mutual friends, the Petrokowskis, rooting for him and supporting his goodwill campaign with donations of food and clothing items for the Lebanese first timers and the Palestinian repeat refugees in South Lebanon. I remember him later reporting how outraged he was by the practice of Israeli commanders who discriminated between their expelled victims, making Moslems stand in the sun for hours while letting Christians stand in the shade. That and similar indecencies that didn’t fit well with his military honor code led him to write his famous book, My War Diary: Israel in Lebanon, (Pluto Press, 1984) which led to his dismissal from his military post. Here he turned to full peace activism. Our attempts at bonding were galvanized based on this change of heart and my chronic pacifism.
Here is a paragraph from my book of memoirs, A Doctor in Galilee (Pluto Press, 2008) that illustrates the operational style and extent of exceptionalism of Israeli liberal Zionists like Dov:
It is worth briefly mentioning the peculiar circumstances in which I first got to know the Petrokowski family [mutual friends of Dov and mine.] It was through Said Nassar, a friend in Arrabeh [my home village] who landed himself a job at the Naharya Hospital laboratory. However, his employment was terminated when a jealous relative and well-known Shin Bet collaborator identified Said as a security threat. After his dismissal, Said sought help from the newly formed Jewish-Arab Coexistence Circle in Naharya, to which some influential Jews belonged, including Dov [Yermiyah,] the pre-1948 commander of the Haganah forces that conquered most of Western Galilee, and his wife, [Menuha,] who grew up on Kibbutz Nahlal surrounded by such legendary figures as General Moshe Dayan. [Said was reinstated in his job thanks to the group’s efforts.]
Menuha, Dov’s third wife, was a nurse. She worked in the Western Galilee Public Health Office that I headed for two decades before Ehud Olmert, then the Minister of Health, forced me out of my position. On occasion, while serving in the same office, Menuha and I exchanged family visits. But Dov’s and my paths crossed in yet another way. I had founded and headed the Galilee Society for Health Research and Services, an NGO dedicated to bringing better health to Palestinian communities in Israel. We ran a mobile clinic that brought medical services to unrecognized Bedouin villages in direct opposition to the will of the government. The World Council of Churches had started kindergartens in two such Galilee mountaintop villages, Kammaneh and Hussainiyeh. These were border skirmishes, so to speak, in the ongoing battle that the State of Israel waged in its attempt to dislodge the Bedouins of the Galilee from their ancestral lands. It used, among other means, withholding of essential services including schools, clinics, water supply, electricity and other infrastructure and public facilities. Our efforts were aimed in the opposite direction to help the communities survive and withstand the intentional deprivation. Practically, we barricaded ourselves with the locals. Once a week Dov, Don Quixote-like, hitchhiked up the mountain to enter the same trenches the tribesmen occupied. He came to play his accordion for the kindergarten children. That was where we met regularly. This time Dov was on the right side of history; the two communities survived.
On occasion in retirement, Said, the hospital laboratory man that had introduced us to start with, and I visited Dov and Menuha in their home in Naharya. Their Palestinian housekeeper was always very attentive to all the guest-receiving formalities, what with coffee, soft drinks, fresh fruits etc. She was an internally displaced refugee, a “present absentee,” whose family was driven out of their coastal village in 1948 at the hands of no other commander but Dov Yermiya. He now was full of praise for her dedication and of thanks to the Department of Social Welfare that paid her minimal wages. She, for her turn, thankfully acknowledged Master Yermiya’s kindness and mentioned his and his wife’s frequent gestures of goodwill in insisting that she take home the occasional extra clothing item and whatever excess food and supplies remained each day.
Here is one last account of what seems to have paved the road for Dov’s renunciation of Zionism quite late in the game. It is from a review that I wrote of Adina Hoffman’s biography of the Palestinian internally displaced poet Taha Muhammad Ali,
Hoffman’s recounting and acceptance of Taha’s remembered version of events and her insistence on aligning such accounts with recorded documents is far from an easy task given the highly oral Palestinian narrative and the most incessant documentarian yet no less skewed Israeli parallel narrative. Taha’s account of the events of Saffuriyya’s Nakba, for example, supported by other Saffuriyyan who lived through the horrific events brings her up against the contrary version accepted in the Israeli narrative. The contradiction is finally, and for the first time ever, resolved in favor of Taha’s truth by Hoffman delving in the Israeli military archives and discovering the previously unknown records of the air raid that actually did take place despite the denial of no less a trusted source than Dov [Yermiya,] the Hagana commander who entered the abandoned village and who has since converted to pacifism and renounced Zionism altogether. He himself had never known of the air attack.
Dov always spoke proudly of his heroic achievements in “the War of Liberation” and how he and his troops were “the most moral army in the world”. He maintained the delusion that they were so feared, that the defenders of villages like Saffuriyya cut and ran without firing a shot to defend themselves. I recall talking to him about the discovery that even he was kept in the dark regarding the air raids that were carried out ahead of his troop’s advances. He was extremely disappointed by Ben-Gurion and his top commanders keeping him in the dark at the time and all those years afterward.
Could that discovery have tipped the scale in Dov’s moral quandary regarding his allegiance to Zionism? And, since I have started this guessing game, let me throw in another speculation: Could the man have held a deep grudge against the entire Zionist command in Israel because of the war he had lost to the more decorated general of the Israeli forces, the Chief of Staff at the time, Moshe Dayan? At the height of their military careers Dayan captured the heart of Dov’s young second wife leading to their divorce and to acrimonious exchanges that reached to Ben-Gurion himself. The Prime Minister tried to avoid entering the fray between his two soldiers by talking of abstract philosophical issues of the difference between public and private persona. But obviously he ended up siding with his Chief of Staff, Dayan, by not honoring Yermiya’s request to dismiss him from office. Ben-Gurion had a way of trivializing issues he didn’t want to be caught addressing with a dismissive wave of his hand. That, for example, was the way he notoriously signaled his answer to Yitzhak Rabin to get rid of the Palestinian population of Lydda and Ramla. Did Dov Yermiya interpret the big boss’s refusal to get involved as ignoring him? Did that leave a dark spot in his heart that eventually added to the cumulative deposit of pain and revulsion that got him to his rejection of Zionism and its current military leaders in 2009? I even wonder if Dov ever considered an armed revolt against such commanders. I suspect that it must have crossed his mind. And that he must have decided on the no-less-treasonous step in Israel of committing to peace, albeit at a late date.
Like other Israeli liberal Zionists, including Uri Avnery for example, Dov had drawn a line under 1948: “It was a war and we won it, period!!” On a few occasions I heard him speak of that era in tones that betrayed his willful insistence not to doubt history as he had always known it. That blind spot put a damper on our enthusiasm for each other. He died with our relationship still simmering on the edge of full friendship after near half a century of trying but never getting quite there.
Dov was a valued acquaintance. May his soul rest in peace.
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