Things I learned in Israel:
- There’s not nearly as much security as I thought there would be.
- Independence Hall was sand dunes 90 years ago, but its 1948 ceremony was more of a miracle than its construction was.
- Arabs make much better falafel than Jews.
- Jews compensate with wine, but Palestinian beer is better than Goldstar.
- Yisrael Beteinu has at least two racists in it besides Avigdor Lieberman, one of whom takes it to such an extreme that I am ashamed she represents the Jewish state.
- Israel is much better at observing the law of war than her critics would think, and much worse at protecting her Arab citizens than her proponents would think.
- Aharon Barak is awesome.
- Backgammon is bigger than chess in Jerusalem.
- I come from a people that will spare no expense and no effort to protect their own, whether they are Ethiopian villagers, the last Jews in Yemen, or Gilad Shalit. We’re good-looking, too.
- The ultra-Orthodox in Jerusalem are just as rude as I suspected they would be. This is made up by the fact that I saw at least one Holy Roller on actual roller skates. Then again, that was in Tel Aviv.
- The Jews of Qumran were weird, and the woman who hands out headsets at the Israel Museum is a bit slow.
- The coffee in Israel is better than the stuff widely available here.
- Pomegranate juice is delicious.
- I get the romance of Western Jerusalem, and the excitement of East Jerusalem, but I don’t get the G-d vibe everybody else seems to.
- F-15s make a lot of noise when they take off.
- The people in Sderot have been screwed over psychologically more than I can comprehend. Some will turn to the sword; I hope some turn to the pen as well.
I didn’t make it to the Jerusalem Chess Club, so I guess I’ll have to go back some time.