With all this talk about the rising tension between Israel and Iran, and unrest raging all around them in the Middle East, you’d think Israeli life would be tenser, edgier these days. It’s not, really.
They’re used to tense and edgy around here.
The fresh face of the Israeli diplomat’s wife who was wounded in the attack in New Delhi earlier this week was in the papers for a day, maybe two. But I was surprised to see there wasn’t a blow-by-blow account of her improving condition, or any eulogizing of her, as would happen if she were an injured American diplomat’s wife, I think.
“That’s what being an Israeli is all about,“ said one Israeli woman when I asked her about the muted reaction to the attack on the defense attache’s young wife in Delhi. “That’s normal for an Israeli. We‘re used to people hating us.”
That feeling of being on a war-footing is normal here. Young people in green army khakis hauling big guns over their shoulders is a normal sight, after all. Suppressed fear also seems normal.
“I try not to think about Iran too much. It makes me afraid if I think about it, so I don‘t,” said one young woman from Jerusalem.
And what about the violently-suppressed uprising against the regime of President Bashar Assad in Syria? Or the continuing unrest in neighboring Egypt, one year after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak?
Try not to think about that too much either.
“I don‘t want to worry about Egypt,“ said a young man from Tel Aviv. “I just want to concentrate on my own life.“
“Egypt is far away, even though it’s really close,” said an American Jew from Philadelphia who’s lived in Jerusalem for 20 years and is married to a Yemeni Jew. “I’m much more worried about a third (Palestinian) intifada than I am about Egypt,” she said, referring to the waves of Palestinian uprisings against Israeli occupation that rocked this country for years.
Ah yes, the home-grown, hometown Palestinian problem.
Now that’s close to home. Just down the street, in fact.