|The view of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem is one natural wonder of Israel. |
There are man-made miracles to celebrate, too. (Courtesy NYT)
“Israel is not a proposition, it is a country. Its facticity is one of the great accomplishments of the Jews’ history. . . . It is one of the achievements of Ari Shavit’s book to recover [that] feeling . . . and to revel in it, to restore the grandeur of the simple fact in full view of the complicated facts. My Promised Land startles in many ways, not least in its relative lack of interest in providing its readers with a handy politics. [Shavit] has an undoctrinaire mind. He comes not to praise or to blame, though along the way he does both, with erudition and with eloquence; he comes instead to observe and to reflect. This is the least tendentious book about Israel I have ever read. It is a Zionist book unblinkered by Zionism. It is about the entirety of the Israeli experience. Shavit is immersed in all of the history of his country. While some of it offends him, none of it is alien to him. His extraordinary chapter on the charismatic and corrupt Aryeh Deri, and the rise of Sephardic religious politics in Israel, richly illustrates the reach of his understanding. . . . There is love in My Promised Land, but there is no propaganda. . . . The author of My Promised Land is a dreamer with an addiction to reality. He holds out for affirmation without illusion. Shavit’s book is an extended test of his own capacity to maintain his principles in full view of the brutality that surrounds them.”—Leon Wieseltier, The New York Times Book Review
And the subject of a Thomas Friedman article in today's International New York Times, "Something for Barack and Bibi to Talk About"