It’s as perennial at this time of year as the madly inconsistent weather, hay-fever and the kids at busy intersections selling small Israeli flags to mount on cars. Open up the papers, watch the television, look on the Web and you will see – as Israel approaches another Independence Day – learned reports, essays and articles asking what has become of the Israel that we once loved, and whether the country can survive.

This year the genre took on an odd new twist: Not only essays about whether Israel will still exist in 2048 – the actual title of a very downbeat 2011 essay in the Guardian (albeit in September, not in May) – but also when Israel will morph into Iran.

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