Just a few evenings ago, I found myself engaged in a friendly dinner table debate about Israel and the proper way to feel about it. Normally, I try to steer clear of such discussions, since when it comes to Israel everyone is always right and everyone is also always wrong, and I prefer to discourse on topics in which I am the sole and unimpeachable voice of authority—which, I guess, is why spend so much time talking about The Music Man. But this one was unavoidable, and may or may not have involved close family members. One side argued that Israel was a special place, set apart from all others and therefore one should, as a Jew, properly feel a deep spiritual and nationalistic connection to it; the other put forward the idea that the Zionist dream would be most fully achieved when Israel was looked at by all as just another Mediterranean vacation spot, a place to go when you were too broke for Italy and hated Greek food.
The latter may be nothing but a pipe dream, but at least one unlikely family is doing their damnedest to help the Holy Land become just as tacky and overrun with paparazzi as South Beach. The Kardashian sisters—Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe—are reportedly in talks to buy a beachfront condo in Tel Aviv for up to $30 million. The three have no connection to Judaism whatsoever, apart from Scott Disick, Kourtney’s partner and the father of her three children. (Disick may be looking to commune with his roots, but don’t expect to see him in a paratrooper’s uniform anytime soon; I’m pretty sure they make you wear socks with the boots.) The sisters, it’s assumed, will blend right into the glitzy celebrity culture of Tel Aviv, presumably bringing their entourage, photographers, reality television show crews, and famous consorts with them.
Israel may be good, or at least attractive, to the Kardashians, but will the Kardashians be good for Israel? I would argue that they are. Love them or hate them, they are huge stars with a multiethnic family as vast as their staggering, if baffling, international appeal. If Kim Kardashian wants to live part time in Tel Aviv, an army of fans are going to see that her glamour rubs off on a country whose reputation has been severely (and, it’s possible to argue, deservedly) tarnished over the years. Will she attract tourists? Visiting celebrities? New nightspots and luxury shopping? Undoubtedly. But she’ll also bring reporters who are less concerned with Gaza than with Givenchy. That’s one group of people, at least, who’ll treat Israel like just another country where it’s possible to buy incredibly overpriced real estate. If you will it, it is no dream.
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