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.

Amos Oz picks olives with Palestinian villagers in 2002 to protest against increasing violence from Jewish settlers (photo: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Kahana)
"Every country in the world should follow the example of president Trump and move the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. But simultaneously there should be an embassy of all countries in the world in East Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine. We cannot become one happy family because we are not one, we are not happy, we are not family. We are two unhappy families. We have to divide the house into two smaller next-door apartments," says Oz

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

© Deutsche Welle 2018

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