I have talked to the young father yesterday, who has been called in to serve as a reservist two days after I had left the country. Fortunately, he did not have to go up north, but is deployed close to Jerusalem. "It is part of living in this country", he said, rather laconically, when confronted with my problems to grasp his situation. As I noted earlier, my frame of reference for war or any situation like it stems from my grandfather's few statements about the second world war (even though a colleague of mine rightly pointed out that the war in ex-yugoslavia had been much closer in terms of time and space). In any case, the thought of my husband being called in to serve as a reservist in a war is something I find rather difficult to imagine. Nevertheless, I think that his statement may help to understand the Israeli public discourse or perception of the crisis up north. Living in Israel, regardless whether one was born there or has immigrated from some other place, includes to become part of or rather, to embrace the national myth of Israel as the David who has to fight against the Arab Goliath and cannot lose, not even once, since that would mean the end of the country. This myth has its roots in the origins of the Israeli state, but does it still fit reality? I don't think so. First of all, Israel is by no means comparable to the biblical David anymore. The country's political and military dominance has become almost proverbial in the last decades. Secondly, even if Israel were to "lose" the ongoing war against Hizb'Allah, the existence of the country would not be doubted. Or rather, and I am not intending to be cynical here, people like Ahmadineschad will say what they were saying before, but they will, because of this, remain on the periphery of the international political scene. The international community has accepted and welcomed Israel in its midth a long time ago.
It will take some time for this to be reflected in Israeli mythology, but I firmly believe that the variables with which the country had to deal when it was founded have changed profoundly in the last 25 years. There may even be the chance to find a kind of peaceful normality, even in the Middle East, where "normality", as a friend from Egypt has noted in a comment on this blog, is synonymous with insecurity, irrationality, and change. Rather postmodern, I would say.