Editor’s Wrapup: Back to Basics
To paraphrase an old joke, the American president calls the prime minister of Israel and asks, “Is anything all right?” In fact, something in Israel has been all right, even during the recent weeks of conflict. As legions of supporters have commented, the country’s spokespersons are doing an excellent job of stating Israel’s case. At the risk of overlooking others, standouts include government spokesperson Miri Eisen, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mark Regev, Ambassador Daniel Ayalon and the venerable Shimon Peres.
Israel is also getting better press because the material these spokespersons are working with is improved. Since 1967, the Jewish state’s detractors have had the word “occupation” to hide behind—never mind the acts of war that led to it. Now, with Gaza settlements dismantled and no occupying forces in Gaza or Lebanon, Israel’s neighbors still attack. The clarity of intention on the part of Hamas and Hezbollah may explain the outbreak of objectivity among many reporters. They have rediscovered, after nearly four decades, the core issue of the Middle East conflict: the refusal of so many Arab leaders to accept Israel’s existence.
Of course, there are limits to the understanding of some world leaders and journalists. Israel’s reaction may be justified—as we’ve heard many times—but is it proportionate? And often Israel’s support lasts only until a single bomb aimed at a rocket launcher accidentally hits a civilian site within yards of the intended target.
Perhaps the most positive thing we have observed in Israel, however, is the nation’s sense of community. As this issue of Hadassah Magazine goes to press, missiles are still falling on Israel’s northern cities, but the population is united. Several articles in this issue provide a glimpse of Israeli life under fire. The images are worth keeping, though I hope the stories themselves will be terribly out of date by the time you read them. —Alan M. Tigay