Divided We Stand

No nation comes together like Israel in a time of crisis or mourning. When seventy-three soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash last year, so intense was the grief, it seemed as if every family in the country had lost a son. Iíve never seen anything quite like it. In vast, regionalized Canada, the ties that bind simply donít run so deep. Not even close.

"Itís like a big extended family here," an Israeli journalist once told me. "Where else could a total stranger approach a nursing mother and tell her sheís breastfeeding improperly?"

As is the case in many extended families, however, there are longheld, often bitter divisions, which are quick to resurface each time a crisis passes. Religious-secular, Sephardi-Ashkenazi, rich-poor, revisionist-traditionalist, new immigrant-old immigrant; these are just some of the major fault lines that divide Israelis.

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