Listening to the BBC yesterday was painful.
Generally, listening to the BBC is infuriating, but that day was a painful one.
As you can imagine, the reporting was all about the battle between Hizbullah and Israel. It’s bad on both sides, and the BBC was reporting on HOW bad.
Most of the way through their reporting, I was furious at the BBC’s stilted view – as usual. That is, before they talked to a man and woman in Kfar Saba – Anat and somebody else (I’ll call him Yosi).
Both were educated professionals, probably working in the high tech industrial zone – maybe even in the same building where I used to work. Both were thoughtful, knowledgeable, and erudite. Neither of them were hysterical, flag-waving, jingoistic ideologs.
In all the ways that counted, they represented the majority of Israelis – at least in the area of the Arab Israeli conflict.
Each of them represented a prevailing mindset. Each of them represented one of the two main views that Israelis have of their future here in the Middle East. Yosi, made the connection with Europe and likened the conflict to the Hundred Years War, fought between 1337 and 1453. (Okay, it was 116 years, but who’s counting?).
That was painful enough. Yosi thought that MAYBE his grandchildren would see peace.
I’m afraid that Anat had the more prevailing view, the more painful one. Most Israelis agree with Anat, and the reminder was difficult. I can’t quote her words, but they can be summed up this way:
To Anat, and most Israelis, there is no chance of survival. One day, they believe, it’s all going to end, and that all that they are doing is staving off the inevitable. They’ve been cornered and death is at the door.
That viewpoint is perfectly understandable. All that you need to do is open an Arab language newspaper to see a call for the murder of every Israeli. From before Israel ever existed, the daily call has gone out to murder every Jewish man, woman, and child. Only ‘moderates’ limit themselves to killing Israelis.
And when they are outnumbered literally a hundred to one…
How can Israelis think any differently?