Sure, I live in the Middle East. That certainly does not make me an expert. Frankly I do not even pay much attention to a lot in the news nowadays. But I have noticed a number of people in my circle of acquaintance (FaceBook and here) who are very upset. All these people are Israelis.
It seems to me Israel is enjoying the longest hunk of peace it has ever had. (Would you rather be an Israeli now or in '67?) Things are going as well as could be expected. Further, there seem to be few big changes happening suddenly. The US president is not to their liking, foreign enemies who may soon have scary weapons, various liberal Europeans are saying hurtful things, but all of this seems business as usual for Israel.
So why are so many people so upset? Do Israelis or Jews in general somehow feel uniquely threatened over the last year or so?
I would really appreciate some education on this, but fear we will soon be Great Debating, so we might as well start in this forum.
Our IKEA burned down over the weekend! Do you have any idea what a serious blow that was? Israelis love IKEA!
Seriously, though - it’s mostly a matter of internal politics, specifically the public’s dissatisfaction with the Netanyahu administration, most specifically the public’s anger with his Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak. I’ll try and give you a summary of the whole Barak-Labor-Ashkenazi-Gallant mess later on today (sorry - busy morning). To be brief: yes, people are worried about Egypt, but they’re worried because they don’t believe that our government is up to the task of dealing with the situation. And IMHO, they’re absolutely right to think so.
I think what happened to them is that more interesting stuff started to happen around them. Fortunately, Israel isn’t North Korea, and is unlikely to start killing people just to bring attention back to themselves.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, of course. Barak has dismantled his own Labor party, alienated essentially everyone except a small circle of yes-men, shifted to the right of the Likud and has treated the Israeli defense establishment as his own personal domain. Bibi Netanyahu, on his part, has made a career out of doing little except equivocate, procrastinate and act like Barak’s little bitch; on the rare occasion he actually manages to decide to do something, he usually fails. The only thing he seems to be interested in is keeping his coalition stable.
The thing is, people let them get away with it so long as terrorism was down and the economy was up; last week, however, gas prices rose and food subsidies dropped, which pushed a lot of people over the edge. I’m not surprised people are angry.
And what do you think is the reason that now is the “best time”?
It’s because there is peace, and a strong economy. And that is all about to change, now that the largest army in the Arab world, armed with the best American weapons, is about to be under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Liberal professors in ivory towers are filling the news screens with drivel about the wonderful opportunities for freedom and democracy in the new Egypt, in a new era of peace.
The average Israeli ain’t buyin’ it.
It’s as unrealistic as when Nancy Reagan brought peace to the ghetto by telling the gangs in the 'hood to “just say no”
We know our 'hood.
Remember, every house and every apartment in Israel is built with one room of heavily reinforced concrete, a bomb-proof window shutter, and an air filtration unit in case of chemical warfare… You usually use it as a kid’s bedroom–but it’s not called “Mikey’s room”.It’s called the bomb shelter.
If the Egyptian people choose to let freedom ring, all Israelis will be very happy to “get used to it”.
But it is very likely that the Muslim Brotherhood will win in any upcoming vote.
And then Egypt’s first free election will also be its last.
Is this for real?
Someone states that they’re worried about a massive army under the command of the Muslim Brotherhood, and your response is to claim that anybody wants to prohibit the Egyptians from having “democracy” or “freedom” and, further, that they’re being considered sub-human?
This is not a time of peace; it a just lack of current attacks. This is not a time of hope; it is a time of resignation by many of each side that there is no near term way out of the current untenable circumstance.
Not being attacked is good but if I was an Israeli I’d feel a bit like I was under the sword of Damocles.
Damn, and I thought that Hannah’s post was an absurdity.
“We think that the Muslim Brotherhood might take power in Egypt, and that might lead to violence.”
“Apartheid, apartheid, apartheid!!!”
Oops. Am I being a commissar? Or was it an inquisitor… I always forget what costume I’m supposed to be wearing when I persecute such a clear-eyed, cogent analysis of the situation.
It isn’t a time of hope, no. But you also have to place it into context. After Oslo we actually saw a rise in suicide bombings against Israeli targets. After Clinton’s Bridging Proposal we saw the Second Intifada. After Israel pulled out of Gaza Hamas seized power and used Gaza as a base from which to launch attacks. Now the security barrier has all but stopped suicide bombings, Hamas is somewhat contained and although they’ve been steadily launching rockets for the last couple years, they haven’t gone for the all-out barrages we saw a while ago. Hezbollah has been, somewhat, alienated from Lebanon’s actual government and it’s not been acting with violence and impunity recently. There is, at least, a degree of stability.
Yes, if anything is going to be accomplished we need to get a two state (most likely excluding Hamastan) solution asap. Yes, the US needs to lean on Israel, the PA needs to come close to some of their offers as leaked in the recent Palestine Papers, etc, etc, etc.
But if you look at disillusionment over the peace process,the booming growth in the Israel economy and a period of relative calm, seeing as how some Israelis might look at this as a relatively good state of affairs isn’t surprising. Of course it would be a much better time if the West Bank was sovereign tomorrow and a vibrant trading partner with Israel, tourism for both regions exploded (no pun intended) and Hamas’ thugocracy fell overnight and the people of Gaza demanded to join the West Bank in recognizing Israel and living in peace with it… but that doesn’t look like it’ll happen. And it’s not clear that the PA could even make good on the negotiating planks it held even a couple years ago.