Saturday, July 16, 2011

Israel: "Things have never been better"

Whenever I spend time in Israel and hear Israeli after Israeli tell me that "things have never been better," I get very, very worried.

Well, to put it mildly, I am very, very worried that the cocked trigger leading to large-scale violence in the Arab-Israeli conflict is ready to discharge. I really can't go into details just now, but suffice to say that there is an air of self-satisfied exuberance in the current Israeli national swagger which might lead the dull-witted to believe it is true. Israeli PM Netanyahu is more popular than ever; the 18th Knesset's government is self-assured and unafraid; Israel has joined the OECD because its advanced globalized service economy is running on all cylinders; and life expectancy is better than in the US.

The problem is that whenever I've encountered in Israel this level of certitude and confidence, the sky falls in. Israelis become transfixed by a certain "konseptzia" (conception) which time after time lulls them into missing the signs of an impending national crisis. I think we're in one of those times.

State-to-state war is unlikely for the medium term, insofar as neighboring Arab states are engrossed in their own internal madness. But if the 21st century has taught us anything, we must know that asymmetrical warfare can be very destabilizing. Whether it is a 3rd and ferocious intifada borne of general frustration with the comatose effort to bring about Palestine, or a missile downpour from Lebanon or Gaza, I sense in my gut that something is very wrong with this picture. It's nothing I can document or prove -- but I worry when Israelis think "things have never been better."

1 comment:

  1. Be carful! you might not be allowed to enter Israel again, unless you can sing the national anthem and visit a fallen soldier's grave...