When Will It All End?

The Israel of today is not the same country as the Israel of a month ago. The metamorphosis in the media illustrates it better than anything else.

Prof. Steven Plaut

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So many people are asking "When will it all end?" But the answer is so simple. It will not end until Ramat Aviv is attacked massively by rockets and missiles.

How do we know Ehud Olmert and Amir Peretz are still playing games? When the newspaper headlines read: "In heavy fighting today 6 terrorists were killed." When it says, "In heavy fighting today, 10,000 of the enemy were killed," then we will know that Israel has stopped playing.

In the meantime, however, even the Israel of today is not the same country as the Israel of a month ago. The metamorphosis in the media illustrates it better than anything else. Sure, Gideon Levy and Amira Hass are still cheering for a Hizbullah victory, but suddenly, they are almost alone. The bulk of the Israeli media writers are suddenly militant and patriotic. Yesterday's leftist lemmings are suddenly demanding a more serious ground invasion of Lebanon, and urging that Israel resist calls for a ceasefire. Ultra-leftists like Yaron London are suddenly warmongers.

Perhaps one of the best illustrations of all this is the change in the "ultras" of Israel's literary Left. Far-leftist writers like Amos Oz, A. B. Yehoshua, and even David Grossman, are suddenly patriots. Sure they whine about civilian collateral damage in Lebanon and urge an immediate ceasefire that would leave the Hizbullah rockets on the borders, but in a large ad in the Hebrew press, they also declare that broad Israeli military attacks on Lebanon are fully justified. What next - Michael Lerner urging people to beware of the dangers of LSD?

Of those who have learned nothing, by the way, the most glaring example is Ehud Olmert. He declared that the war in Lebanon is all designed to allow him to go forward with his unilateral retreat plan for the West Bank, which caused some soldiers to take off their uniforms and refuse to fight for such a "goal". Even Dan Margalit, Israel's most distinguished journalist (centrist, or mild lefty), denounced Olmert for this folly and demanded that new elections be held before Olmert does anything in that direction. Margalit insisted that Olmert no longer had any popular mandate to make any concessions to the Palestinians.

Another indication of the change is to be found in large ads placed by a far-leftist, pro-terror media group calling itself Keshev. It is suddenly denouncing "the conscripted media" in Israel, meaning the media endorsing Israel's right to defend itself against terrorism. This enrages Keshev.

Keshev had grown used to situation of the past 20 years, in which Israel's media were entirely conscripted in promoting the agenda of the far-left. Now that so much of the media are calling for escalating the war against the terrorists, Keshev and its other well-funded mini-groups of the extremist Left are suddenly upset about the "conscripted media".

Even Haaretz cannot ignore the sudden change in the national temperament. In the editorial cartoon today, one sees a Tel Aviv secularist bohemian type, in a cafe with a pony tail, wearing a Peace Now shirt, and declaring to his friends, "It will not end until we erase Beirut from the face of the earth."

While the far-left still churns out some "Peace by Surrender" columns for Haaretz, it is amazing how many Op-Eds are being run there cheering the fighters, endorsing the use of armed might by Israel, pooh-poohing the reports of Lebanese civilian casualties, and otherwise demonstrating patriotism so alien to Haaretz these past decades.

Here is another way that you can tell that something basic has changed in Israel.

In all previous wars, the radio filled up right away with whiny songs about yearnings for peace. In the Lebanese campaign of 1982, the radio even had various seditious, "let's all surrender" songs. Ever since the Yom Kippur War, a horrid, cacophonous whiny song about "You promised us peace (but did not deliver)", mars every Memorial Day in Israel. Even the Oslo withdrawals had their own peace songs, including one called "Farewell to thee, oh Gaza."

Well, the current war has produced but one song so far - and it is a doozy! It is called Shir HaMilchama or "The War Song" and can be read in full (in Hebrew) at http://stage.co.il/Stories/616267.

Here is a partial translation:
But who can break a powerful people,
Not even the very worst enemy,
Can succeed against a united people.

And who can defeat those ascending the mountain,
Not even the worst enemy,
Can crush the hopes of millions.

And who will raise their hands (in surrender) in the middle of the
battlefield?
A united people, bonded together, will never capitulate!

For we are stronger than ever,
Grasping the hope in our own hands,
Toasting the expectations of victory.
Yes, folks, for the first time in two decades, there is talk in Israel not of being sensitive to The Other and demonstrating our commitment to sharing, but rather of victory. The "V" word is being used in polite company.

Not everything changes. Naturally, the vast majority of Israeli Arabs are cheering on the Hizbullah. The Arab whose two children were killed in Nazareth, for instance, went on TV to salute and justify the Hizbullah attacks on Israel. On Al-Jazeera (which is permitted to roam Israel freely) this week, Israeli Arabs blamed Israel for the rockets landing in their villages. One of the interviewees declared, "Just because two of their soldiers were kidnapped, they went to war and now we are being killed."

"Their" two soldiers were, of course, soldiers in the country of which that speaker is a citizen.

Israeli Arab politicians also continue to cheer and applaud the rockets landing in Israel. This week, the attorney general decided not to prosecute one of the worst of these, not to open procedures to strip him of his Israeli citizenship.

In a bit of an ironic comment on how many Arabs live in northern Israel, nearly half of the deaths in the Katyusha attacks have been those of Israeli Arabs.

By the way, evidently, Al-Jazeera had advanced warning of the attack on the reservists in Kfar Giladi that killed 12 on Sunday. That has also not landed the "Al-Jazeerans" in Israeli prison.



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