News of the bus bomb in Tel Aviv spread quickly here in Jerusalem. So many people have smartphones with alerts on them. Everyone seemed to know right after it happened, an accelerating buzz spreading from person to person. Have you heard? Have you heard? Have you HEARD?
So now what? Back to the bus bombings of the second Palestinian intifada? Wind the clock back 10 years?
On Tuesday night, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Jerusalem, it felt like a cease-fire was imminent. Today, it feels like it’s the last thing on anybody’s mind.
It’s hard to gauge what the majority of Israelis want to see happen now. A poll in the left-leaning daily Haaretz newspaper published Monday found that more than 90 percent of Israeli Jews supported Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel’s aerial attack on Gaza.
At the same time, though, only 30 percent of the public polled supported any ground incursion into Gaza.
Anecdotally, I’ve heard almost every possible opinion on the progression of the war here, as with many things in Israel.
One I’ve heard a few times is: “We have to finish what we didn’t finish four years ago” during Operation Cast Lead, the last Israeli war with Hamas. But then another Israeli might come back with: ‘what do you mean, finish it? How do you finish this?’
I’ve been to both our family doctor and our dentist in this past week of conflict, just by accident of appointments. (I told you how life goes on as normal here). Both are religious Jews who immigrated to Israel, one from New York and the other from South Africa.
Both doctors were completely convinced an Israeli ground incursion into Gaza was imminent. Like during Cast Lead. Absolutely, they said.
Not that they were advocating it (I wasn’t completely sure if they were or weren’t). Both men have sons in the Israeli reserve, though.
My family doctor, the South African, was telling me that last Friday, when the first air raid siren sounded in Jerusalem, his son had just been released from the hospital. The phone rang all morning at home, with a taped announcement that his son had been called up and needed to report. They couldn’t respond to the taped message, telling them he still needed to recover. A few hours later, an army official appeared at the door.
His son kept insisting he’d be better any minute; his doctor father was saying he wouldn’t.
“You don’t want your son to go?” I asked.
“You got that right,” he answered.
“But he does want to go,” I said. No response.
Daniela Deane, a former Washington Post reporter, is a freelance writer living in Jerusalem.
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