Israelis Learn to Adapt—and Argue

Israel's national "disputatiousness" is irritating, but survival mechanism
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2009 9:00 AM CDT
Israelis Learn to Adapt—and Argue
Israeli soldiers and Palestinian medics transfer the body of a Palestinian killed in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Beit Hagai, to a Palestinian-controlled area, April 17, 2009.   (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

American Jews are “taught to go all gooey-eyed at the thought of Israel,” writes David Brooks in the New York Times, but this isn’t the appropriate reaction. It’s not so much a sentimental place as it is “exhausting, admirable, annoying, impressive, and foreign.” After decades of struggle, everyone shares the same trauma, and there’s little public-private boundary. Everyone gets into everyone else's business, loudly. It's a country “held together by argument.”

By getting into so many fights, the Israelis have learned a thing or two. They “blame themselves for everything and work hard to get the most out of each person. From that wall of criticism things really do change.” They may be unbearable at times, but, by arguing, Israelis have learned to survive and adapt in a hostile environment. Indeed, "there is no bar on earth quite so vibrant as a bar filled with Israelis." (Read more Israel stories.)

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