Sixty years ago a tiny outpost of Western Civilization was established in the vast cultural wasteland of the Middle East. It took two world wars and a collective global recoil from the horror of the holocaust to set the stage for such an improbable event.
Today there are those who actually believe the Middle East would be a giant love-in if Israel didn’t exist. All harmony and understanding. Sympathy and trust abounding. Seriously.
However, some knoweldgeable folks at Foreign Policy magazine imagined “A World Without Israel” and came to a different conclusion:
Imagine that Israel never existed. Would the economic malaise and political repression that drive angry young men to become suicide bombers vanish? Would the Palestinians have an independent state? Would the United States, freed of its burdensome ally, suddenly find itself beloved throughout the Muslim world? Wishful thinking. Far from creating tensions, Israel actually contains more antagonisms than it causes.
There were about 200 people present on May 14, 1948 when David Ben Gurion proclaimed Israel a sovereign nation. Only one of those witnesses to history is alive today. His name is Arieh Handler. And this is his story.