Jews and Others
why try Eichmann? Some of the older Israeli Jews will tell you that Eichmann symbolises ages of anti-Semitic persecution, that his crimes must be exposed as an object lesson in what Jewish identity can involve and a memorial to the inhumanity Jews have suffered. Eichmann’s judgment must demonstrate the determination of the Jewish people (here synonymous with the Israeli nation) to end 2,000 years of persecution, to reverse one particular historic process by their conscious act. But will it work? Will the world accept the Israeli equation: Jew equals Israeli, Jewish people equals Israeli nation? There is a difference between Jewish identity and Israeli citizenship which all Ben Gurion’s appeals to diaspora Jewry will not reconcile. Will the evolution of Israel define the 20th century Jew? Or will it define a new national entity—the Israeli? The process works both ways. As Jews become Israelis, they cease to be Jews.
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