Jet lag finally caught up with us. Three days of running on adrenaline stopped cold.

But the day was not lost.

I had a chance to spend some time with reader Israel Pickholtz, better known as Jerusalem Genealogist. I didn’t recognize him without his beard.

(me and Israel Pickholtz aka Jerusalem Genealogist)

(me and Israel Pickholtz aka Jerusalem Genealogist)

Later, we visited the cemetery on Mount Herzl, where many of Israel’s founders and political leaders are buried, including Golda Meir:

Golda Meir Grave Mount Herzl

And Yitzhak Rabin, the Prime Minister who was assassinated, and now is buried next to his wife:

Yitzhak Rabin Grave Mount Herzl

(Yitzhak and Leah Rabin Grave Mount Herzl)

A group of military officers was gathered in a field near the cemeteries.  It was explained to us that this exercise was conducted each year among officers who would make the trip to visit Auschwitz.

(Israeli Officers, Mount Herzl)

(Israeli Officers, Mount Herzl)

Then on to the Ben Yehuda Street market:

(Ben Yehuda Street Market – Jerusalem)

Then I was off to meetings with more people who shall remain nameless to get a better understanding of the challenges facing Israel.  Let me boil down the explanation:

Israelis are few, the enemies of Israel are many, so Israel has to be innovative, and learn to improvise to deal with the many.

I also offered my take on American politics — nothing you haven’t heard here before — including the overwhelming support for Israel in the conservative blogosphere and the Tea Party movement, and the lack of any political traction for anti-Israel sentiment outside of certain pockets of influence.  Even the liberal mainstream U.S. media, though often implicitly biased against Israel in presenting the conflict, would not consider itself anti-Israel.

Those pockets of open anti-Israel hostility include college campuses and academia, exploited by the BDS, Pinkwashing, and other movements, which while themselves not significant in the country as a whole, disproportionately make noise and risk influencing younger people.  Another pocket is left-wing Jewish circles — where psychiatric analysis probably would be more informative than political analysis.

One simple and obvious question came up toward the end and caught me off guard.  To paraphrase:

What explains Americans’ strong support for Israel, this tiny county of 8 million people so far away?

I babbled something about shared enemies and so on.  Undoubtedly the rise of radical Islam was part of it. But I struggled. The best I could come up defied data points.

At some point in the last 40 years something fundamental happened in the relationship between the American people and Israel far deeper than government policy, which fluctuates.  The friendship with and support for Israel became a part of the American psyche.


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