Israelis seem resigned to a strike on Iran


washingtonpost.com

TEL AVIV — A recent installment of the popular Israeli satirical television show “A Wonderful Country” captured the public mood here regarding a possible strike on Iran and its consequences: a mix of resignation and gallows humor.

In one scene, a house-hunting couple is shown a Tel Aviv apartment facing a drab housing project as a real estate agent proclaims that the place will have a view of the sea. “In June, that whole row of buildings won’t be here anymore,” she cheerfully informs the prospective buyers, gazing out a window.

“Are they making a park here?” asks the woman viewing the apartment with her husband. “No,” the agent chirps, “there’s the business with Iran this summer.”

As if noting a change of seasons, many Israelis are talking about a possible war come summer, or later this year, with an air of inevitability born of years of festering conflict that has periodically flared into full-blown hostilities. The prospect of devastating counterstrikes and mass casualties seems to be taken in stride, seen as a lesser evil than facing a nuclear-armed Iran.

“It’s like people are saying, ‘A typhoon is coming,’ ” Avi Funes, a 57-year-old accountant, said over lunch at the Azrieli Center, a towering glass-and-steel mall and office complex next to the military headquarters and the Defense Ministry — a potential target area for retaliatory missile strikes.

“People aren’t taking to the streets to protest against an attack,” Funes added. “There’s a kind of complacency. What can the ordinary citizen do? It’s not up to him.”

The wisdom of a strike on Iran has been debated here for months, with current and former security officials as well as political figures arguing about whether such a move would achieve its aims or, instead, provoke costly retaliation and possibly a broader conflict without stopping Iran’s nuclear effort. On Tuesday, Iran warned of preemptive action against its foes if it felt its national interests were threatened.

Polls conducted in recent months have shown ordinary Israelis divided over the advisability of an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

But now that Israeli leaders are openly suggesting that a military strike on Iran might be necessary to stop what they describe as its drive to obtain atomic weapons, Israelis are contemplating the possible result: a rain of missiles fired at population centers by Iran and the militant groups allied with it, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

A familiar fear

Many Israelis have been through it before.

During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Iraq fired about 40 Scud missiles at Israel, including some that hit the Tel Aviv area. Thousands of rockets fired by Hezbollah struck northern Israel during the nation’s 2006 war against the guerrilla group, and hundreds more were fired by Hamas and other groups during Israel’s three-week offensive in late 2008 and 2009 against the Islamist movement. In those conflicts, Israelis took cover in bomb shelters and safe rooms, so civilian casualties were limited. Fewer than 50 Israeli civilians died in all three conflicts combined.

But there are concerns that retaliatory missile attacks by Iran could be of an altogether different magnitude, wreaking far more death and destruction and possibly triggering broader hostilities.

Seeking to allay public concerns and rebut doomsday scenarios, Defense Minister Ehud Barak has in recent months played down the possible impact of missile strikes on Israeli cities and towns. “There won’t be 100,000 dead, not 10,000 dead nor 1,000 dead. Israel will not be destroyed,” he said in a radio interview in November. “It’s not pleasant on the home front . . . [but] if everyone just goes into their houses, there won’t be 500 dead, either.”

That was cold comfort for Gideon Levy, a columnist in the liberal Haaretz newspaper. In a recent article, he railed against what he described as the apparent public indifference to suggestions by Barak and others that hundreds, if not thousands, of Israelis could die in missile barrages triggered by an attack on Iran.
“The impression is that the majority of Israelis are not afraid,” he wrote. “The decision is left to a handful of decision-makers whom the public, as usual, trusts obediently and blindly.”

Levy urged Israelis to speak up against a military strike by telling their leaders “now, loudly: We are a-f-r-ai-d.”

‘Business as usual’

But among visitors to the designer shops and cafes at the Azrieli complex this week, there seemed to be only faint trepidation.

“It’s business as usual, although there are concerns,” said Zehava Shem-Tov, a 50-year-old secretary on a lunch break. “There is a sense that something unpleasant awaits us, but it’s kind of repressed.”

Amos Tzion, 53, who sets up farming projects abroad, said that “there’s concern, but also the need” to take action. “We live in an area that’s always been threatening, we’ve grown accustomed to that, and there’s an existential fear that Iran will have the bomb, and something has to be done about it,” he said.

Some people said they were skeptical that stepped-up international sanctions on Iran would stop its nuclear program.

With Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s “extremist views, it doesn’t look like it, and it’s more likely that there will be no choice but military action,” said Funes, the accountant. “What’s the alternative? If he develops an atomic bomb, it will be a constant threat, and their missiles will be even more dangerous. No one would dare bomb a country that has nuclear weapons.” Israel has its own undeclared nuclear arsenal.

Ayelet Lifschitz, a 24-year-old student from the northern city of Haifa, said she had spent the 2006 war against Hezbollah in a bomb shelter as rockets crashed into her city, an experience she views as “a lifelong trauma.”

She said she opposed Israel going it alone against Iran without international support, particularly from Washington. But she added that she was confident that the country would survive any counterstrike. “This is a strong society,” she said. “We can cope with it, if that’s what it takes to deal with the problem.”

In the meantime, she said, “there is a constant awareness” of the possibility of armed conflict in the coming months, to the point where her friends joke that they may have to juggle appointments and personal plans to accommodate the war.

That approach was reflected recently in a Facebook page started by Kobi Zvili, a Tel Aviv artist. The page, which has attracted hundreds of supporters, pleads with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold off any military action before the singer Madonna takes the stage in a suburb of the city on May 29 on the first stop of her planned world tour.

“Bibi, No!” the page title says, using Netanyahu’s nickname. “No war with Iran until after Madonna’s performance.”

  1. #1 by Sam on February 23, 2012 - 3:55 pm

    Israel will only go to war with Iran to the last GI!

  2. #2 by Ponders70 on February 23, 2012 - 6:22 pm

    No war until after Madonnas concert.
    You are kidding me right? Good to see
    they have their priorities in order.
    How about no war at all? Wait a moment,
    that would completely go against the
    jew pathology.

  3. #3 by B.Benhamid on February 23, 2012 - 7:04 pm

    The usurping Zionist entity has not yet experienced a severe blow to their infrastructure in the largest city of Tel Aviv they’ve been occupying since 1948. After they have been badly hurt, they might want to live in peace with the indigenous Palestinian Arab people and accepting the fact, that the only thing invented in that region is the demonic entity called IsraHell.

  4. #4 by ruby22shoes on February 24, 2012 - 12:05 am

    Stupid, these are stupid morons. Would Barak be so complacent if he knew him & his family were about to be “sacrificed’ to the G-d of bloody war & aggression?

    The apartheid state has never had a war without overwhelming arms superiority, they think it is a joke, keep laughing your way to doomsday.

  5. #5 by Howard T. Lewis III on February 24, 2012 - 2:26 am

    Who pays Israel to behave as abused dogs? R-o-t, rot in hell you fuchers, h-s-c how simple can it be, h-i-l-d-s. Queen lizard too, queen lizard too. They never learned tricks beyond ambush. So we ask, what other books have you read? Anything good?

  6. #6 by Flipper on February 24, 2012 - 3:57 am

    Ehud Barak (translation) “We are going to sacrifice 499 Jews this time; and countless cattle.”

    I’d bet that most of them are using an alias, so they can collect reparations later.

  7. #7 by Howard T. Lewis III on February 24, 2012 - 5:25 am

    It may be that the nasties rewrote the Bible so people would be complacent and passive to await The Lord’s return. Old Aramaic versions say for the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father, who art everywhere”, or “Our Father, who art above and here…”. The new translation after Constantine, who converted to ‘Christianity’ only after he had original scripture changed, and The King James version, likewise a translation to suit King James, both say for The Lord’s Prayer, ” Our Father who art in heaven”…, implying the opportunity for tales of armaggedon and other fear provoking nonsense and behavior. Recently, satanists of known identity have actually carried out operations and construction projects designed to create mass deaaths and property disasters. They are a cult, they are stupid, and I want them placed in prisons. You can bet Israel’s boss, The City of London, has their hands in this crap and want the internet controlled to shut people up.

  8. #8 by MJ on February 24, 2012 - 1:17 pm

  9. #9 by Ingrid B on February 24, 2012 - 4:11 pm

    the parasites have become complacent, that`s what brainwashing does..

  10. #10 by Ingrid B on February 24, 2012 - 4:15 pm

    @Howard T. Lewis III, they rewrote the bible, and re-arranged Palestine..

  11. #11 by Ingrid B on February 24, 2012 - 4:40 pm

    excellent video MJ, am sending the link in e-mails..

  12. #12 by Ingrid B on February 24, 2012 - 5:28 pm

    sent the link for the video posted by MJ to, amoungst others, Cindy Sheehan, who lost her only son in Iraq. Here is her response, I`m still in shock:

    please don’t send me anything else by this racist, white supremacist
    thank you

    2012/2/24 Ingrid B.

    “How does it become a wo(man) to behave towards the American government today? I answer, that s/he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.
    Henry David Thoreau

    Cindy Sheehan
    http://www.CindySheehansSoapbox.com
    http://www.PeaceoftheAction.net

  13. #13 by Howard T. Lewis III on February 24, 2012 - 6:14 pm

    Ingrid B, Rearranged the middle east and are living in their false ‘christian’ doctrine which includes rearranging Palestine with the genocide dedicated to the golden pig(calf?). The London stock exchange installed a branch office in Tel Aviv a few months ago, so this crap about British royals forbidden to set foot in Israel is false from the basement and steps of the freemasonic ‘world court of the world’ to the new Rothschilds stock exchange to the drivel they spew to the world more accustomed to loftier discourse.

  14. #14 by ruby22shoes on February 24, 2012 - 7:13 pm

    Ingrid, In the US David Duke is thoroughly destroyed by the White Supremacist smear. He is synonymous with KuKluxKlan, racism, white power.
    Anything he writes or says is dismissed. David Duke is an example of what media blacklisting can do, he is right up there with the likes of Hitler, I can’t even think of anyone else who has been so completely demonized.

    He’s totally discredited.

    If you recall Cindy Sheehan mentioned something about Israel, can’t remember what, but she got burnt, lost a lot of support.

    She became afraid of losing influence, I imagine her ‘advisors’ told her to avoid any mention of the entity’s role — therefore she became false & ineffective.

    I don’t remember if she supported Obama, if she did she probably feels used, exploited. She probably feels like an ass.

    It’s possible she could be rehabbed if she lost her fear of truth and spoke out about what the root of the problem actually is.

  15. #15 by Howard T. Lewis III on February 24, 2012 - 7:41 pm

    Ruby22shoes, good analysis. I have been familiar with the evil of the KKK, and David Duke was attracted to it. The KKK made up a large part of his support. Facts concerning who the most active slave traders were have been brought to the attantion of the people through Duke’s videos, as have a number of other publications featuring documentation and proof of zionist blind-siding of gentile society in America in illegal and by indecent practice which invoke rage once discovered. This is not a fault of David Duke.These pieces of information are to his credit. I have yet to catch david duke in a lie. the lies from zionist America are nonstop and facilitate the exploitation from thousands of direction, each simple and abstract until investigated or court time.

  16. #16 by ruby22shoes on February 25, 2012 - 12:40 am

    Howard, yes and anyone who associates with him is tarred with the same racist brush. I remember when he was running for an elected office – he sounded rational to me. People dismiss him though w/o a 2nd thought.

    I still can’t think of anyone else as thoroughly discredited. He goes on tv only to face mockery & abuse; give him credit for persistance. Maybe the PTL minister Jim Bakker is on par with him, in the media, but I don’t think he faces the same HATE in capital letters.

  17. #17 by Ingrid B on February 25, 2012 - 6:08 pm

    thanks Kate, Howard. It`s sad that Cindy is so unaware of exactly who is responsible for her son`s death..

  18. #18 by ruby22shoes on February 25, 2012 - 10:21 pm

    Ya know Ingrid, it occurred to me that Cindy Sheehan may have thought she was going to be set up.
    She traveled to Iraq, I think that could have been when she blamed ‘israel’ of provoking that war. The entire Zionist POwer configuration came out howling in unison till she backed off. Never to have as much clout.

    I don’t think I could withstand daily accusations, threats, worldwide critiques and threats. I know I would start to wonder if I was in the wrong.

    Cindy was a bright star, in our time of need. Her moral, ethical superiority to Bush was revealed.
    Then her media support abandoned her.

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