Commentary Magazine


Article Preview

The Cost of Israel's Survival: Faith, Courage, and Taxes

- Abstract

The customs inspector at Idlewild looked at the gifts which I had brought along from South America.

“I am in transit,” I explained.

“In transit? Where to?”

“To Israel.”

The inspector looked at my passport and said sympathetically, “You have troubles there.”

I knew that this conversation would not solve Israel’s troubles, but I felt that it could solve those posed by the gifts. I answered in the affirmative.

The inspector leaned over the counter, and said as if in confidence, “This time you will have to go it alone.”

I could have answered that we had done so in 1948, but instead I said, “Do you think it’s fair?”

The inspector replied with a shrug, “You can’t drag the whole world into a war.” He said it with a certain regret, perhaps as one says c’est la vie. There was probably no lack of sympathy. He did not charge me any duty.

“In transit? Where to?”

“To Israel.”

The inspector looked at my passport and said sympathetically, “You have troubles there.”

I knew that this conversation would not solve Israel’s troubles, but I felt that it could solve those posed by the gifts. I answered in the affirmative.

The inspector leaned over the counter, and said as if in confidence, “This time you will have to go it alone.”

I could have answered that we had done so in 1948, but instead I said, “Do you think it’s fair?”

The inspector replied with a shrug, “You can’t drag the whole world into a war.” He said it with a certain regret, perhaps as one says c’est la vie. There was probably no lack of sympathy. He did not charge me any duty.



About the Author