Analysis & Opinions - Newsweek

Lost Tribe

| June 5, 2010

Are Israel's battles costing the country its soul?

I am in love with Israel. Yet the events off the shores of Gaza last week, in which Israeli commandos stormed a blockade-busting aid ship and killed nine activists, were a painful reminder that I also belong to a class of Israelis that is deeply concerned about the direction of our country. Increasingly, our conflict with the Palestinians is separating us, not only from our moral faculties, but also from the rest of our senses.

The patterns are clear: more people are getting killed in shorter periods of time, and we care less and less. According to Israeli data, it took 22 days for the Palestinian death toll to hit 1,100 in the last big round of violence between "us" and "them," the 2008–09 Gaza incursion. The same number of casualties accumulated over a full five years in the first Palestinian uprising (1987–93), which was then the largest Israeli-Palestinian clash since 1949. Over time, our hearts have grown harder. In the first intifada, Israeli military police launched internal investigations whenever Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire. Yet there have only been a handful of such investigations during the last decade, and none is likely to take place over last week's killings.

Israel's almost complete lack of empathy for the "other" has not always been the case....

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For Academic Citation: Eiran, Ehud.“Lost Tribe.” Newsweek, June 5, 2010.

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