A nice piece by Bernard Avishai on Israeli writer Amos Elon, who died this week at 82. Elon, who liked to say he lived in Israel because it was the only place on earth you could tell an anti-Semitic joke, spent decades "employing a penetrating sense of
history to explain Israelis and Jews to themselves, much the way a
physician examines patient after patient who will not quit smoking."
could not get over how history went wrong because of the ways in which
broken-hearted people act together and ricochet off one another, how
qualities that we ordinarily like in people—creativity, loyalty,
sincerity, steadfastness—combine to create disasters."