So this month I focused on learning more about Israel, and wow – there’s a lot here.
As I said at the start of the month, I’m going to save a lot of the Palestinian conflict for when Palestine comes up as a month, but I learned two crucial things with that in light – the first is that most Israelis have very varying views on Palestine stretching right across the political spectrum – many left wing Israelis want a two-state solution and many on the right don’t.
The other thing I learned is that there is a whole world of other identity conflicts and struggles for pluralism inside Israel – between minorities inside Israel proper (such as the Druze or the Bedouin), between different denominations of Judaism, different cultural and ethnic backgrounds of the waves of Jewish people who have come to Israel, and the balancing act of being a modern secular democracy with protecting the fact of them being the only Jewish country.
It’s a lot, and I’d strongly recommend the book I picked up for this month – My Promised Land by Ari Shavit – to get a base understanding on a lot of these tensions and on the complexity of Israeli life and identity.
I also deeply enjoyed a lot of the culture – I’m utterly hooked on Shtisel and Netta is now in in my workout playlist. The movies I watched this month (Late Marriage and Foxtrot) were both emotional gut punches, and I definitely got to try a wealth Israeli snacks (1,2,3).
When the pandemic’s over, Israel is definitely on my list of countries I want to visit!