Thursday, October 14, 2010

(BLOG) On The Bleeding Edge Of The West

"Israel isn’t the only country in the world where the East meets the West, but it’s the only place where you can walk from Western Civilization to the Arab world in just a few minutes. Much of East Jerusalem is Arab — Palestinian — and the southern parts of East Jerusalem don’t even look like they’re in Jerusalem. They’re what neighborhoods in Baghdad might look like after a decade of economic growth and good government.

Over the summer I could walk from my apartment in West Jerusalem’s German Colony to the Begin Center near the Old City in about twenty minutes, and from there see the security wall Israel built during the Second Intifada to keep out the suicide bombers. That wall is where the West ends, more or less, and it concentrates the minds of those who spend time in its proximity.

My colleague David Hazony and I recently discussed this, among other things, in a Jerusalem coffeeshop. He and I both write for the Commentary magazine blog Contentions, and he commissioned a story from me years ago about Iraqi Kurdistan when he was editor-in-chief at Azure magazine. (You can read a preview of it here, but the rest is behind a pay wall, alas.) Just a few weeks ago, his first book, The Ten Commandments: How Our Most Ancient Moral Text Can Renew Modern Life was published by Scribner." (h/t Elder Of Ziyon)

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