So heavy are the big things in Israel these days, the temptation is to write about the small things, the odds and ends of daily life that describe what it is like to live in Israel. People are more polite to one another than they have traditionally been. There are endless jokes about the rudeness of Israelis, but these days they seem outdated. National trial has led instead to a sense of solidarity, of a neighborliness. That small detail noted, we move to two "big things". First, Israel awaits the Likud referendum for withdrawal from Gaza, an audacious political maneuver as General Sharon tries to recast himself as a statesman. Second, the nation prepares for Yom Hashoah, the most carefully choreographed week in Israel's calendar. A memorial to those who died in the Holocaust, but also a sometimes troublingly politicized time, rife with messianic and Zionist allusions that sometimes seems more a mockery than an aspiration.