Israel & Palestine Today & Echoes From 1929 (Hillel Cohen)


Including reference to Kook and Agnon, historian Hillel Cohen notes parallels today with the riots between Jews and Arabs in British Mandate Palestine, 1929, and why everyone needs to pull back hard from the brink.

“The balance of power between Jews and Arabs in 2015 Jerusalem is very different than what it was in 1929. But now, as then, the two communities have metaphorically blockaded themselves in their own corners — each convinced of its faith, the justice of its own case, its sense of victimhood, and its own absolute truth. Among those in either community who hold God in their hearts, there is the additional factor of their yearning to get closer to God and everything that is sacred. With a few individual exceptions, both communities find it difficult to see the humanity of the other side.”


“At the very same time, most members of both communities are well aware that they are destined to live side by side for many years to come. They know that they will continue sharing the light rail carriages, the supermarkets, city parks, maternity wards, the markets and the Magistrates Court halls. They know that life in Jerusalem combines the mundane and sacred, vision and reality, Jews and Arabs. And somewhere deep inside, I think, many feel that even if there will be the most violent of outbreaks, everyone will come back — battered and bruised — to those same streets. Only the scars borne by them will be deeper.”

You can find the whole article here.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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