The State of Israel is seventy-five years old. The Jewish nationhood celebrates the rebirth of the People of the Book’s physical, spiritual, and political sovereignty based on secular principles of freedom and equality of justice for all.
This event happens while there is turmoil within and without Israel. From within, democracy is in peril. Its check and balance laws are under attack. From the outside, Israel must confront viral anti-Semitism (frequently masquerading as anti-Zionism) and a conspiracy of delegitimization.
The short documentary accompanying this blog tries to give an idea of Israel’s multi-layered complexity. As an architect, my observations mostly look at the environment, the diversity of people, and some selected works of architecture.
The Land of Israel remains subjected to two truthful and mutually contradictory narratives. The Jewish narrative relates to its ancient history, the Land of Israel, Hebrew as a spoken language, multi-cultural traditions, dispossession, persecution, massacres, and reemergence.
The Arab narrative tells of its prolonged residence in the land that the Romans renamed “Palestine” to erase the memory of the Jews’ presence, sovereignty, and attachment to Judea. They referred to it as “Judea Capta,” captured Judea.
For real peace to be possible, both narratives must learn to tolerate and internalize the other side’s narrative. This will need education on both sides, and it will take, most likely, several generations. In the meantime, in the absence of real peace, we should maintain the absence of war and avoidable tragedies and seed ideas and actions for a future outspring.