Jerusalem — How do you explain to an American Jew who hasn’t visited Israel how safe one feels being there? Or that many Israelis really do enjoy their lives, despite the constant tensions they live with every day?
And how do you make an Israeli who has not spent much time abroad understand what “Jewish identity” means to an American Jew? It’s an alien concept to large numbers of people in the Jewish state who have no need to parse the Jewish and Israeli aspects of their DNA, and see themselves simply as Israelis.
One of the frustrations Israelis feel about the recently released Winograd Commission report is that it was too general in its stinging criticism of the Israeli government and army in their conduct of the 2006 war with Hezbollah. By blaming everyone — from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his cabinet to the commanders of the Israel Defense Forces — in a sense, it allowed everyone to remain blameless. Or more practically, it allowed each of the key figures to explain away his own actions and cast responsibility on someone else.
In this season focused on the presidential election in America and amid much talk of the weak government in Jerusalem, it is only natural to think about what constitutes effective leadership.
So how would you rate the following characteristics?
Deep humility, an abiding reluctance to lead, bad temper, poor public speaking due to a persistent stutter, and on the lam from the law for having committed a serious crime.
As spring training moves toward Opening Day, rekindling in baseball fans everywhere the flickering and foolish hope that this could be the year for their team, I share with you my own story of child-like dreams rubbing up against reality. It’s a saga I like to think of as My (Almost) Magical Inning.
For it was 25 years ago this week that I had an opportunity to live out one of the great fantasies a baseball fan could have: to play in a game with one’s favorite big-league team.