Israel Still Struggles With Meaning of, Path to 'Normal'

Can the Jewish state ever be just a country among countries? Does it want to be?
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2008 4:43 PM CDT
A Palestinian villager looks from his doorway as Israeli soldiers take position during an army operation in the West Bank village of Nilin near Modin.   (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
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(Newser) – Even as Israel celebrates its 60th birthday, the Jewish state’s lifelong pursuit of normalcy has David Hazony wondering, in the New Republic, if such a thing is possible or desired. Piquing Hazony's interest was the government's recent hiring of a PR firm to build a “narrative of normalcy,” to turn Western minds from war and terror to babes and beaches.

Despite Biblical praise for their uniqueness, permanent exile long kept Jews apart and unfulfilled, sparking Zionism—a desire for the psychic completion of a homeland. It’s an irony, then, that Israel is a new chapter of different-ness, as Jews must make war and sanction lousy politicians. But normal is over-rated, Hazony concludes: Perhaps Israel should just close the book on its identity crisis.