Michael Totten in Israel

"Rich, powerful, and explicitly Jewish" wouldn't have been my first choice of words in describing Israel, but when it comes from Michael Totten we know what he means. Go read this terrific post to get the feel of how Palestinians and Israelis negotiate the borders of their world. I'm going to post a few thoughts of my own later.

Oh, and to be fair to Michael, here's the full quote in context:
Arab countries have a certain feel. They’re masculine, relaxed, worn around the edges, and slightly shady in a Sicilian mobster sort of way. Arabs are wonderfully and disarmingly charming. Israel felt brisk, modern, shiny, and confident. It looked rich, powerful, and explicitly Jewish. I knew I had been away from home a long time when being around Arabs and Muslims felt comfortably normal and Jews seemed exotic.

First impression are just that, though. They tend to be crazily out of whack and subject to almost instant revision. Israel, I would soon find out, is a lot more like the Arab and Muslim countries than it appears at first glance. It’s not at all a little fragment of the West that is somehow weirdly displaced and on the wrong continent. It’s Middle Eastern to the core ...

Go read the whole post here.