I'm reading A Book That Was Lost, stories by S.Y. Agnon, the Israeli writer who died in 1970, a few years after winning the Nobel Prize for literature. Agnon's posthumous story "The Sign" begins with a paragraph relating news of his native city, Buczacz, in Poland. Agnon got the news at his home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Talpiyot, during World War II. I pass this along because it is moving, because it frames the postwar Jewish experience, and because it helps explain some of Israel's conduct.
In the year when the news reached us that all the Jews in my town had been killed, I was living in a certain section of Jerusalem, in a house I had built for myself after the disturbances of 1929 (5629—which numerically is equal to “The Eternity of Israel”). On the night when the Arabs destroyed my home, I vowed that if God would save me from the hands of the enemy and I should live, I would build a house in this particular neighbourhood which the Arabs had tried to destroy. By the grace of God, I was saved from the hands of our despoilers and my wife and children and I remained alive in Jerusalem. Thus I fulfilled my vow and there built a house and made a garden. I planted a tree, and lived in that place with my wife and children, by the will of our Rock and Creator. Sometimes we dwelt in quiet and rest, and sometimes in fear and trembling because of the desert sword that waved in fuming anger over all the inhabitants of our holy land. And even though many troubles and evils passed over my head, I accepted all with good humor and without complaint. On the contrary, with every sorrow I used to say how much better it was to live in the Land of Israel than outside the land, for the Land of Israel has given us the strength to stand up for our lives, while outside the land we went to meet the enemy like sheep to the slaughter. Tens of thousands of Israel, none of whom the enemy was worthy even to touch, were killed and strangled and buried alive; among them my brothers and friends and family, who went through all kinds of great sufferings in their lives and in their deaths, by the wickedness of our blasphemers and our desecrators, a filthy people, blasphemers of God, whose wickedness had not been matched since man was placed upon the earth.