I wanted a cultured, responsible enemy who fights like a gentleman,
never hits below the belt, never sends kids to throw stones at me.
If he nevertheless must insist on protest, let it take the form of
a fast - like Mahatma Ghandi in India - but, come what may, don't
let him bleed before a TV camera. Let the rubber bullets that wound
him look as if they are encased in cotton wool and, for God's sake,
let him stop suffering and dying on TV screens all over the
I want an enemy who is not too smart, who falls for everything I
say, however outlandish: who will believe we are limiting
settlement when we are in fact expanding them; who thinks he is
sovereign when, in fact, he is under occupation; who knows the
heroic history of the Jewish people; who admires us for achieving
our dreams of a national home in the Land of Israel, but who won't
copy our example or adopt the same hopes and dreams for
If he wants his own state and aspires to Jerusalem, let him sit at
home and write poems of longing like that of Yehudah Halevi:1 "I am
in the farthest east and my heart is in East Jerusalem," or
"Salaam, lovely bird who has returned [from my homeland]".2
This is the Middle East and I am prepared to accept the reality
that my enemy is Levantine. On the contrary, let him be a "proud
son of Arabia"- it's romantic. But he should get on his knees when
he cleans the tiles in my toilet. Let him be a genuine,
dark-skinned Oriental, but who speaks Biblical Hebrew and recites
I want an enemy who makes humous in the traditional way, but
without leaving germs on my plate. A man with modest needs, making
do with little. He should build my house tip-top - bricks, plaster
and tiles, but live with his family in a mud hovel. He should fix
my car for cheap, but himself drive the old jalopy I sold him for
more than it was worth.
I am prepared to negotiate with him without preconditions, but let
him make sure his son keeps away from my daughter, even to ask the
time of day.
I want an enemy who will show up my good qualities, who will know
that I only take up arms for a just cause, and who will recognize
the exalted Jewish ethical values that guide me.
So am I asking for too much?
1. Yehudah Halevi is a Jewish poet who lived in Spain during the
Middle Ages. In his poem he says: "My heart is in the east and I am
in the farthest west."
2. A line from Bialik, the poet laureate of modern Hebrew poetry,
who said: "Shalom, lovely bird who has returned."