In your new book, "Dear Zealots. Letters from a divided land", you write that the Jewish people are indeed a nation and not just a religion. How would you define a Jewish state?
Oz: Before I define it I have to make a very strict distinction. It's "The state of the Jews" and not the "Jewish state". A state cannot be Jewish just like a car cannot be Jewish. A state is a vehicle, an instrument. It can be a good instrument, a bad instrument, a rotten instrument, a stinking instrument. A state of the Jews is a different idea. It means, the Jews, same as any other group in the world, have their right to be a majority and not a minority in one small patch of this planet. This is the State of the Jewish people and at the same time it's a state for all its non-Jewish citizens. That's how it should be – not how it is, far from it.
As a little boy, you were yourself a militant Zionist. Why?
Oz: I thought that the cause of the Zionist Jews was 100 percent right and anyone who resented or objected or interrupted this cause was an anti-Semite, a racist, a monster. It took me some time to realise that the fulfilment of the dreams of the Jews had a cost. And to a large extent the Palestinian Arabs had to pay this cost. I didn't realise this as a child. I do realise it now.
Where do you see Israel 70 years from now? Or where would you wish it to be?
Amos Oz: This is the land of the prophets, there is too much competition in the prophecies business here. I don't dare tell you where it will be seven months from now. I tell you what I want. This will be the shortest answer in the whole interview: peace.
Interview conducted by Sarah Judith Hofmann
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