Defense Minister Ezer Weizman called it "peace calamity." Egyptian President Anwar Sadat called it the "peace barrier." Psychologists are now calling it "peace stress."


Whatever its name, it is here, Israel, having made peace with its most formidable Arab neighbor, now is trying to make peace with itself.

Nobody is suggesting it is going to be easy either, although the malaise does have some symptoms that seem psychosomatic when viewed alongside the potential rewards of peace.

An army general wonders whether the tank corps will have room enough for maneuvers in the 6,000-square-mile Negev Desert once Israel gives up the Sinai Peninsula; a government public relations officer confides that he is worried that Israel tourists will descend on Egypt like locusts and that their sometimes abrasive manner will sour relations with the complacent Arabs; a prominent ecologist fears for the survival of the short-toed eagle once the borders are compressed, and a social welfare official warns that opening the borders to Arabs could boost organized crime here, with Jewish Mafia linkups to underworld elements in Cairo.

Other symptoms are more palpable: respected economists warn that the cost of relocating Israel's mighty military machine from the Sinai is enormous, and that the injection of billions of American dollars to accomplish it could send the country's 54 percent annual inflation rate soaring; business analysts predict that diverting Israeli capital to the development of Negev is bound to reduce industrial productivity elsewhere in Israel; and Finance Ministry officials say relocating 2,500 families from the Sinai settlements will strain Israel's budget so much that there will be cutbacks in public services next year.

Whether real or imagined, the fears the bedevil Israel these days are on the minds and lips of everyone-in the debates of parliament, in the cafes of Tel Aviv's fashionable Dizengoff Square, and in the spartan dining halls of the kibutzim from the Upper Galilee to the lower Sinai.

Almost as much attention seems forcused on the dangers of peace as it was on the dangers of war. Almost obscurred in the dark apprehensions of the effects of an absence of war are the expectations of what peace may bring.

Astonishingly, talk at the cocktail party at the home of the publisher of an Israeli business magazine does not gravitate toward trade with Egypt, the immenent free passage of Israeli ships through the Suez Canal, the potential of new American business investment in a more stable market and-the penultimate aspirations of a businessman-a future Middle East common market.

A conversation with an Israeli Army reserve officer drifts not toward a vision of a peacetime Israel, but toward the question of what will happen to Israel's land transport fleet when the army's supply lines are shortened, or what will become of the senior officers running the occupation headquarters in the Sinai.

A social worker talks not of Israel's chances to divert its attention from war to slum clearance in Jerusalem's Mamila section or Tel Aviv's Hatikva quarter, but instead frets vaguely that greater Jewish-Arab interaction may aggravate tensions between Sephardic Jews who immigrated here largely from Arab countries and the Ashkenazim, or European Jeews.

Israelis have become so used to external conflict that with the advent of peace, they seem almost to be substituting internatl conflict as a surrogate stress in their lives.

Deprived of the unity that came from facing a common enemy across the frontier, Israel faces the possibility of what some people call "the war of the Jews."

Isralis old enough to remember the Jewish state came into existence on May 14, 1948, say they were not surprised at the almost phlegmatic reaction of the country when President Carter announced in Cairo on March 13 that a historic Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty would be signed in less than two weeks.

There was no spontaneous dancing in the street, no wild euphoria, horn-blow-ing or outward celebration of the end of a 30-year state of war. Some revelry followed the official signing ceremony last Monday, but that was mostly the result of carefully arranged rallies with crowd-drawing entertainment provided by the state.

What passed for euphoria came-prematurely-during Sadat's unprecendented visit here in November, 19778 and, to a lesser extent following the signing of the original Camp David peace agreement.

The historic parallel is that when the state of Israel was proclaimed in words with David Ben-Gurion's famous radio address, there was dancing in Ben-Yehuda Street here. But, when the reality of the Zionist aspiration emerged nine months later there was more somber reflection and introspection than demonstrativeness.

A respected psychiatrist-phsiologist, Rafael Moses, visiting professor at the Hebrew University Medical School, wrote recently in the Jerusalem Post, "We are all agreed that almost everybody wants peace; peace rather than war. Yet, while wanting peace, we may not be ready to trust its reality or what it brings."

He likened Israel's situation to a person who has beeninstitutionalized for so many years that he cannot ope with the transition to the outside. In this case, the armed fortress of Israel is dwelling upon the remnants of what itis most accustomed to rather than looking hopefully to the uncertainly of something it has never known.

Other psychologists warn that as thensions increase with the beginning of the tough negotiations for the selfdetermination of 1.1 million Palestintans in the West Bank and Gaza Sttip-accompanied by the rise of extremist groups and possible violence-Israelis will be placed under even greater stress as they attempt to come togrips with peace.

A popular Israelis line heard in the cafes frequently during the constant public debate over the effects of peace goes, "You think peace is going to be easy? So, how would you know?"