When confronted with a great evil, we can forget that nothing lasts forever. We can become so overwhelmed by our suffering and emotional distress that we forget these feelings will be completely lost in time. This is a trick that evil plays. It makes itself seem immortal and beyond the grasp of human intervention. It makes itself bigger than you. The state of Israel does the same. Flimsy infrastructure and frantic excavations try and prove to the world they’re the oldest thing on earth. We’ve always been here, they’ll tell you at the airport. Pay no attention to the animals behind the wall. Ayn Rand’s favorite nation state attempts to tower like a cathedral, making you seem small and helpless. The state of Israel shuffles human beings like cattle through checkpoints, strip searches them, laughs and yells at them, erects barbed wire and razes whole neighborhoods. It steals land, runs drugs, sucks up American money better spent on starving pregnant mothers, and whines for more.
And you’re left staring at the long giant grey wall that snakes off into the distance like a giant raised scar across the countryside. You’re left staring at the guns, at the soldiers, at the turrets and barbed wire. You’re left staring at the scars of others, hearing stories and wiping tears. It’s a ten minute walk from Sheikh Jarrah to Jaffa Street in Jerusalem and the distance is a million miles and a thousand gallons of denial. At the border with Jordan a Palestinian plated car can’t even go to the checkpoint and you’re forced to say good-bye in the middle of the desert before getting the Israeli plated taxi that can take you a half mile and charge you fifteen dollars for the pleasure.
Thankfully, an evil like this – and you can see it right off the bus in Tel Aviv with the escort advertisements and the liquor stores – can never last. The state of Israel was never meant to last. It’s messianic underpinnings were tied to an imperial need of the West’s – a toehold in the Middle East. Yet we’ll find other toeholds in these new regimes popping up. A child dictator is harder to control than a neoliberal democracy. Israel’s usefulness and importance will fade and the crusade will move on. Find shelter in god during these end-times, o Israel. It’s the least you can do. Go to the ruins in Sebastiya and stand among the great palaces and forums and feel the promise of changes and turnings and know for sure nothing will last forever.