Comment and Opinion
Mosaic Magazine: Three turning points that led to the birth of the State of Israel, by Martin Kramer
“I would like to begin with the strange fact that the state of Israel exists.” That is how the philosopher Isaiah Berlin, speaking in 1953, introduced his address to a Zionist association. Today, the existence of Israel is more likely to be taken for granted by Zionists. But in fact, for sheer unexpectedness, few turns of history can compete with it.
As Berlin saw it, the birth of Israel “upset materialist theories of history,” serving instead as “a living witness to the triumph of human idealism and willpower over the allegedly inexorable laws of historical evolution.” Perhaps this helps to explain some of the passions that still surround Israel: its existence refutes too many grand theories.
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