The Fundamental Difference Between the Israeli and the Palestinian Cultures
By David Holcberg (South China Morning Post, January 27, 2003)
A fundamental difference between the Israeli and the Palestinian cultures was highlighted this week.
On the one hand, Israelis celebrated a new hero, Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut to venture in space. Ramon's flight symbolizes the limitless heights a human being can reach in pursuit of his dreams.
On the other hand, Palestinians celebrated an old "hero": a suicide bomber who murdered 29 people and injured many more in an Israeli hotel last year. The occasion for the Palestinian celebration was the opening of a soccer tournament in the bomber's honor.
The Israeli astronaut symbolizes man at his best. The Palestinian suicide bomber, man at his worst. In their choice of heroes, the two cultures reflect their basic difference: one values life and achievement, the other death and destruction.