Monday, 22 December 2008

Once a Political Riser, an Israeli Challenges His Country’s Identity


Ethan Bronner has written an important article in today's New York Times about Avraham Burg's views on Israel and Zionism.

"JERUSALEM — THERE was a time not so long ago when Avraham Burg was viewed by many Israelis as proof that the inherent tensions of Zionism — religious versus secular, insular versus worldly, Jewish state versus state of all its citizens — could be reconciled with grace. Here was a religiously observant Jew with a cosmopolitan outlook, a decorated paratrooper who believed deeply in peace with the Arabs, an eloquent, fast-rising public figure accessible to a broad range of citizens.

Widely known by his nickname, Avrum, Mr. Burg, a happily married father of six and the son of one of Israel’s most admired and longest-serving government ministers, was talked about as a candidate for prime minister. Long before his 50th birthday, he led the World Zionist Organization and served as speaker in Parliament.

But four years ago Mr. Burg not only walked away from politics, but also basically walked away from Zionism. In a book that came out last year and has just been translated and released in the United States, he said that Israel should not be a Jewish state, that its law of return granting citizenship to any Jew should be radically altered, that Israeli Arabs were like German Jews during the Second Reich and that the entire society felt eerily like Germany just before the rise of Hitler."

Source: New York Times Read the rest of the article here