The Western Front

Mending Wall

The Jewish population I encountered during my recent month-long tour of Israel was markedly different from anything I had expected. If there are Israeli counterparts to Abe Foxman and Midge Decter, I didn’t meet them. The vast majority of Jews I did meet were Moroccan and Levantine, while most of the security police in the entrances to shopping malls and on the road between East Jerusalem and the Dead Sea are dark-skinned Ethiopian Jews. These Falashim (their disparaging Ethiopian name) are usually polite to a fault but known to be tough on suspected terrorists. They are now moving into a vocational/ethnic niche that resembles that of the Irish police in America.

Most of the Israeli Jewish population seem oblivious to Christian antisemitism and come from societies that did not suffer in the holocaust. They do not echo the fear found in ADL publications, nor do they celebrate or lament Jewish marginality in the manner of the New York literati. But they are inordinately fond of the American Religious Right, whose silliness they ignore because Robertson and Falwell are working night and day on behalf of Israel. They are also importing from Poland and the Philippines a predominantly Catholic workforce to take the place of the West Bank Palestinians, who now reside behind a long, impenetrable wall (hachomah), which the Israeli government put up about ten miles east of the Mediterranean. Inhabitants of the town of...

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