Levinas proposed a "politics of suffering" that requires all political actors to be willing to engage in the quotidian world not according to the "natural law" but according to those "rules" that make themselves evident in that engagement itself. Israel, the one place such a politics might be lived, appeared to be a space occupied by a citizenry - after 1948, a large number of whom survived the Holocaust- who understood vulnerability in its most radical form. This essay examines the extent to which Levinas's "political thought" works and how such a politics has fared in the contemporary Middle East.