Israel (1)

Some time ago I was asked if I had ever visited Israel.   The answer was no.   Then I was asked if I would be interested in doing so.   The answer was yes.   I received early instruction in the Old Testament and retain murky memories of plates in family bibles of the Holy Land.   Before university, my parents wanted me to stay on a kibbutz;  I wanted to go on a motorbike to Jerusalem.   One of my first teachers of history is now a Rabbi in Paris.   I missed the Bizot group visit to the Israel Museum and have never seen the Bauhaus houses of Tel Aviv.   I have been the beneficiary of long-term support from those who are deeply  associated with Israel and its institutions.   Why not ?   I discovered that it was a leading question following the publication of a letter in the Guardian which called for a total cultural boycott.   Not long afterwards, I was invited to visit by Culture for Coexistence, a group which exists specifically to encourage a better understanding and knowledge of the cultural politics of Israel.   So it is that I am with a group of fellow neophytes struggling to understand the impossible complexities of Israeli and indeed Palestinian history, politics and culture.

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