Today I met Haifa University's Chancellor and co-founder, Eliezer Rafaeli. He told me about the lengths that Israel goes to to help and succour others. Unfortunately giving detalis might endanger some of this aid and assistance, which is why people don't get to hear abou it.
I then attended an experiment: a discussion group in which the participants come from the whole spectrum of Haifan society: Orthodox, Conservative, non-committed and secular. We were talking about prophecy, (especially in the book of Samuel http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Books_of_Samuel), and kingship.
And these are the questions which came up:
What is the difference between a seer and a prophet, if anything? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prophet
Is it good for Israel's leaders to be strong and charismatic, or should they be modest and humble, from low origins, such as Saul? http://demo.lutherproductions.com/bibletutor/level1/program/start/people/saul.htm
Is the Israeli perspective on these questions different from those coming from Galut?
Is it OK to read the Bible literally, just expressing our own opinions, or should commentaries also be used?
Is there such a thing as being disrespectful towards the biblical text, or does anything go?
To my amazement I was asked to participate in all of this. But one thing about Israel, they certainly don't make any concessions to newcomers.
On the contrary: my experiences as I come up to six months of being an Israeli remind me of a Spanish father I encountered years ago in Majorca. In an incident which is etched on my mind forever, he took his new-born baby and threw him head first into the swimming pool.
'Sink or swim, that's life', he declared to those of us who looked on disapprovingly. Well, now I know what it feels like.