Thursday, August 05, 2010

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The Mood in Israel

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

I was asked by a non-Jewish news contact, “Having followed the news over the past few days I was wondering what the mood is like in Israel at the moment?  I was hoping that you could tell me if there are feelings of tension or anticipation amongst the population? What are the reactions to the border skirmish and deaths?”

While Israel is not monolithic and I certainly can’t speak for the country, nevertheless I chose to do so. :-) …

The mood is...summertime and vacation season.  The kids are out of school, the temperature is hot, the beaches are busy.  The parks are full, the pools are full, and bikers and hikers fill the hillsides.  (It’s “Bein HaZamanim” among the religious population and parks, hills and trails are filled with ultra-orthodox Jewish families on vacation.)

Any mood of tenseness has not reached the population.  People are not stocking up for war.  The government gas mask distribution program is considered a failure (something like 30% effective rate).  Army bases are not on alert or a war footing as far as we know [and the general populace gets some feedback from soldiers coming home on their days off, but more air force jets are passing overhead].

However, people are upset and getting a little angry.  First Israel had an air force training accident killing five, and everyone in Israel feels it when such an event occurs as the majority have been in the army and practically every family has a son or daughter in the military. Then Ashkelon was hit by a serious missile, then Eilat was targeted (but missed).  And now on the Lebanese border with a Lebanese unit targeting an Israeli unit, with a specific sniper attack on the commander – who was a reservist doing his yearly duty.

People in Israel are not nervous.  Rather, they are recognizing that every time Israel takes a step "for peace" THEY GET TARGETED.  The past hopes of expansive Middle East peace – the “new” Middle East, have faded away.  Yes there are some die hards who believe Israel just hasn’t given enough, but “middle Israel” has been taught by the Palestinians, Hamas, Hizbollah, and Lebanese that Western style peace is a fantasy in this region.

Instead the general public and the politicians are moving into a Middle Eastern style border model – defend, stand strong, and act a little crazy and threatening.  The goal is not peace in the Western quiet border sense, it’s managing the conflict level and keeping it livable in a nasty neighborhood.

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