By Diana Pinto

Israel has replaced. the rustic was once born in Europe's shadow, haunted by means of the Holocaust and encouraged via the Enlightenment. yet for Israelis this present day, Europe is hardly ever appropriate, and the country's ties to the wider West, even to the United States, are fraying. the place is Israel heading? How do voters of an more and more varied state see themselves globally and historically?

during this revealing portrait of the hot Israel, Diana Pinto offers a rustic concurrently relocating ahead and backward, having a look outward and handing over on itself. In company, Israel is forging new hyperlinks with the giants of Asia, and its booming technological know-how and know-how sectors are aiding outline the longer term for the complete global. yet in politics and faith, Israelis are more and more self-absorbed, construction literal and metaphorical partitions opposed to adverse buddies and turning to historic non secular precepts for information right here and now.

Pinto captures the recent moods and mindsets, the anxieties and hopes of Israelis this day in sharply drawn sketches of symbolically charged settings. She takes us at the roads to Jerusalem, to frame regulate at Ben Gurion Airport, to a massive Israeli convention in Jerusalem, to a hill overlooking the Dome of the Rock and Temple Mount, to the guts of Israel's high-tech economic climate, and to glowing new shops and eating places the place humans of other identities percentage not anything greater than a wish to forget about one another.

bright and passionate yet underpinned via deep research, it is a profound and occasionally unsettling account of a rustic that's now not the place we'd think.

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Besides, Jewish ingenuity is always coming up with practical solutions to even the most extremist ultrareligious demands. 4 The solution may seem strange but it is philosophically admirable, compared to the tactics of Islamic extremists. Rather than insulting or lapidating immodest women, Jewish extremists have simply decided to remove them from their field of vision. The Lesson from East Talpiot 47 More to the point, the ultrareligious (above all the modern orthodox, and not so much the Haredim) today are increasingly consenting to the education of their daughters in Jewish terms by creating special Yeshivas for women, where they too can delve into the deepest spheres of Talmudic learning.

Jerusalem now has gourmet restaurants that serve an excellent planetary cuisine, including nonkosher food, even oysters and lobsters. The constraints of the Shabbat, increasingly respected by an ever-growing number of orthodox Jews, still remain optional, even though there are frequent and well-publicized fights between the two worlds. The bilingual Hebrew-Arab signs indicating Abu Gosh on the highway make me realize that inside Ben-Gurion Airport all the signs are in Hebrew and in English, without the least reference to Arabic.

2 THE TWO ROADS TO JERUSALEM Variable geometry begins the minute one leaves Ben- Gurion Airport to head out to Jerusalem. Two equally beautiful highways take you there. Depending on the choice made by the taxi driver, one is confronted either with the seemingly resolved complexity of the past or with the seemingly insoluble contradictions of the present. Taxi drivers usually take the most classical road, Highway 1, which connects Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is an old road, parts of which were traced during the Ottoman era and further consolidated under British rule.

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