Intimate relationships are a gold mine for literature to explore, to understand, to describe.
I don’t think that when Zionism began there was a claim that we were losing – even in part – our capacity to contribute to other peoples.
I am a serious reader, and I read slowly.
It’s not what the rabbis say that defines Jewishness but what we Israelis do every day – our actions and our values.
We’re living with the Arabs; we have to understand them… Through knowing the Arabs, you know yourself better.
Jews outside Israel live in permanent contradiction. I think they should come home.
Let us not forget: The Palestinians in Gaza are our permanent neighbors, and we are theirs.
I think about the Arabs not as enemies but as cousins. Even when we are in a fierce conflict with them, they are more of a kind of family – with all the problems of a family. We have to live with them.
Israel is too attached to America, too influenced by America. It should be connected to Europe. America is based on mythology – the free man, the individual, the open frontier. Europe is more conscious of history. Take Britain and Shakespeare. You shape your identity through history.
In my DNA, the Zionist gene is extremely strong.
In a time of crisis, there is rational tendency to turn to the writer.
For 50 years – that is, for most of my adult life – I worked tirelessly for the two-state solution in the face of countless frustrations, both on the part of the Israeli governments and the Palestinian Authority.
World War II was a trauma that paralysed writers. It was something metaphysical, diabolical.
We always knew how to honor fallen soldiers. They were killed for our sake, they went out on our mission. But how are we to mourn a random man killed in a terrorist attack while sitting in a cafe? How do you mourn a housewife who got on a bus and never returned?
Jerusalem doesn’t belong only to Israelis and Palestinians, Muslims and Jews, but to the world.
And this is one of the major questions of our lives: how we keep boundaries, what permission we have to cross boundaries, and how we do so.
So with truth – there is a certain moment when one can say, this is the truth and here I put a dot, a stop, and I go to another thing. A judge has to put an end to a deliberation. But for a historian, there’s never an end to the past. It can go on and on and on.
One of the dreams of Zionism was to be a bridge. Instead, we are creating exclusion between the East and the West instead of creating bridges; we are contributing to the conflict between East and West by our stupid desire to have more.
The weapon of suicide bombing is so desperate that you aren’t even left with the possibility of taking revenge or punishing anyone; the terrorist is killed along with his victims, his blood mixing with theirs.
I deeply respect literature and expect to gain insight from a book and to identify emotionally with its characters. I therefore avoid reading suspense novels or science fiction.
I only published my first novel at the age of 40. Till then, I wrote short stories.
The malady of the Jews is that they don’t see territory as part of their identity.
I come from two parts of the oriental community – Jerusalemite and North African Jews.
This is why I am a Zionist: because Diaspora leads to hatred and the Holocaust.
We have to rethink the two-state solution.
Our synagogues are spread all over the world, and we want people to respect them and look after them. And we have to respect the places of prayer of others.