Monday, April 24, 2006

A Tale of Two Cities - Israel Edition

Charles Dickens' classic literary work, "A Tale of Two Cities", opens with the following lines:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way...

While the context of Dickens' novel is built upon the French Revolution, I believe these words to be very relevant to the current struggle over the character of the State of Israel - whether it will exist as a Jewish State or as a state and nation like all others.

Consider the following two examples from stories taken from the Israeli media:

Unlimited pride in Tel Aviv

The first Hebrew city wants to be the first gay city. Work is underway in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism to turn Tel Aviv into the international tourist destination for the gay-lesbian community in order to boost business in restaurants, hotels, city attraction sites and beaches...

As part of the fight for pink tourism, a new Israeli-international Web site promoting gay tourism will be launched. Gay Map includes sites in Tel Aviv specialized in gay tourism...

Entrepreneurs in the northern city of Kiryat Shemoneh are making plans to build a "Holy Temple" as part of a soon-to-be established Bible World amusement park.

Like the original in Jerusalem, the model structure will tower over its surroundings, reaching a height of 25 meters (82 feet) and will be an exact replica of Solomon's temple on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.

"Time tunnels" will offer descriptions of the different periods of Jewish history, and will lead visitors to the main hall, which will feature murals depicting Biblical stories.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to "meet" three heroes of the Bible: Abraham, Moses and King David...

A tale of two cities...

One city representing the very best that the Jewish People and State have to offer; the other city, the very worst.

One city representing the steadfast belief of the Jewish People in their Heritage and Faith; the other city, steeped in incredulity, rejecting all that is sacred and holy.

One city representing the 'spring of hope' for the Jewish People in their mission to create a Jewish State in the Land of Israel; the other city, the 'winter of despair', a rejection of the choseness of the Jewish People and Land of Israel.

A tale of two cities - Tel Aviv and Kiryat Shemoneh (along with the Holy Temple in Jerusalem)...

A tale of two peoples - Israelis and Jews...

A tale of two destinies - To be a nation / state like all others or to live as a chosen / holy nation in a truly Jewish State in the Land of Israel...

A tale of two cities, a tale of two peoples, a tale of two destinies...

A tale with only one ending, and where only one has a future...

The choice is ours.


How come nobody commented on this article.. i like your comparison a lot, although I would not assume that everyone in Tel Aviv wants their city to be the Gay Capitol of the world.. and I am not sure all of Kryat shmonah wants the the temple to be rebuilt just yet..

Yay for tourism!!

By Anonymous annie, at Thu Apr 27, 01:30:00 PM GMT+3  

Annie, I agree with you. I do not believe that Tel Aviv is an evil city, or that the people who live there are evil. I just believe that the idea of Tel Aviv becoming the gay capital of Israel (the world?) is a terrible idea - which is a badge of shame for the Jewish People and State - and says a whole lot about the state of secular Zionism today, as tel Aviv was the 1st Hebrew city.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu Apr 27, 01:47:00 PM GMT+3  

Well, obviously I don't agree- Seriously, what's with all this ongoing homophobic ranting, Ze'ev? I had you down as more of a "live and let live" type. Guess I was wrong...

By Blogger tafka PP, at Thu Apr 27, 07:31:00 PM GMT+3  

PP - I am - but only in a persons private life. When there is talk of making Tel Aviv the gay capital of Israel (or the world?) it becomes my business.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu Apr 27, 08:21:00 PM GMT+3  

Sorry for your distress, truly, but you're fighting a losing battle. TA has been the unofficial Gay Capital of the Middle East for longer than you've been alive. So you effectively have a choice: You can either lose lots of sleep over it, or think about ways you can be reconciled to the idea.

By Blogger tafka PP, at Fri Apr 28, 09:54:00 AM GMT+3  

So, basically what you're saying is that instead of trying to work to overcome the many challenges this country faces, I should just accept the reality of the situation - that we are self-destructing as a nation and a state, and I should go about my life?

I guess whatever works for you.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Fri Apr 28, 10:15:00 AM GMT+3  

No, I'm not saying that at all.

But just be aware that there are some "challenges" you will be able to do more about than others.

By Blogger tafka PP, at Tue May 02, 03:24:00 PM GMT+3  

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