Monday, January 31, 2011

Israel: Nothing to prove?

Years ago, when you landed in an El Al plane Israel, they would play traditional Zionist songs over the loudspeaker.

People would clap.

It was a celebration of the Zionist achievement.

Now, the plane just lands.

No clapping.

But, this isn’t about a nostalgic yearning for a different era, it’s about the fact that, in my mind, Israelis now feel like they don’t have to prove themselves to anyone anymore. And they have accepted that the views of others aren’t going to change.

A few months ago, there was a semi-controversial article in Time magazine saying “Why Israel doesn’t care about peace.”

The basic premise was that, with respect to the Palestinians, that most Israelis had gotten to the point where they realized that there was no credible peace partner on the other side of the table and that, the security issues had just become a “nuisance of life.”

My recollection was that many within the pro-Israel community were upset and concerned with this article and went to great lengths to denounce it.

I remember thinking, “yep, that sounds about right.”

This was my 9th trip to Israel, if I’m not mistaken and the vibe I am picking up (and maybe I’m looking for it) is:

“yeah, we’re here, people want to kill us every day ,but whatever…we’re just going to do our thing.

We’ve got one of the highest standards of living in the world, some of the best technology around, and we’re as global a country as you will find.

We don’t have to prove ourselves. If you want to hate us, ok, hate us.”

Israel used to have to celebrate itself because its accomplishments were so new and unbelievable.

It used to feel like “hey, I want to be loved. Please love me. I’ll do whatever I need to do to be loved.”

Now, it’s:

“Ok, the world is going to hate me no matter what and I just don’t really give a damn.”

At 63 years of age, the country, like a person is at the point of self-confidence.

I find that refreshing.

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