web analytics
July 30, 2014 / 3 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Future Of Young Israelis

Gerstenfeld-081712

When Israelis say, “I worry about my grandchildren’s future,” it has a radically different dimension than similar concerns expressed in many other countries.

Europeans’ current anxiety about the future derives mainly from darkening social and economic prospects. A number of Europeans and Americans are also apprehensive about climate change.

For Israelis, physical survival is a prime matter, often over and above their many other concerns.

Israeli society faces mortal risks from parts of the Muslim world where extreme anti-Semitic hatemongering is massive. Israel is threatened with a second Holocaust, for which the ideological basis is being laid today. The Islamic world has substantial components – such as Iran’s leaders and Hamas – that promote the genocide of Israel and Jews.

In the future, significant threats may also come from others – for example, if and when atomic bombs or fissile material fall into the hands of terrorists.

Palestinian society is permeated with sympathy for the most criminal major Muslim movement, al Qaeda. Those who see a “peace agreement” as an interim stage toward the annihilation of Israel are unreliable partners and not exactly the kind of people to whom concessions can be made.

In view of possible, albeit presently unforeseeable, radical changes in the Middle East, true peace is not a totally impossible dream. Yet this can be the case only after many other problematic developments are dealt with.

Meanwhile, Israelis for generations to come will serve in the army and risk their lives. Once one’s life is at stake, everything else becomes secondary.

As a result of their experiences, Israelis live in a reality that is unique among democratic nations and have worldviews that differ significantly from people who live in other societies.

Serving in the army means Israelis cannot live a life as fully defined by individualism as their counterparts do in Europe and the U.S. One can understand this from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s words on Yom HaZikaron – Israel’s Memorial Day – earlier this year.

“When you hear the siren tonight, we will turn into one family and the citizens of Israel will be united in our remembrance,” Netanyahu told his countrymen.

Western Europeans rarely turn into one family, though it may happen occasionally to some extent in the face of a natural or terrorist catastrophe or upon winning a soccer championship.

In Israel, due to the ups and downs of the economy and the political situation generally, few people outside government services assume that their employment will be uninterrupted and lifelong. This reality has helped cultivate a more flexible mindset among Israelis than is the case among Europeans or Americans.

Contrary to the typical Westerner, many Israeli youngsters realize they owe much to society and that what Israeli society owes them has its limits. At the same time, Israel’s unity is threatened in very different ways by major segments of two growing parts of the population – Israeli Arabs and haredim – as well by much smaller but far more vociferous groups of extreme leftists.

The threat of seeing one’s country destroyed is far from theoretical in Israel. Given this type of reality, Israeli youngsters must continue informal learning throughout their active lifetimes. In other words, invest in one’s brain as much as possible because that will be the main portable source of one’s knowledge in crisis situations.

Israelis should learn as many skills as possible – preferably those that can be used abroad as well as in Israel. Further, it is necessary to learn to speak proper English, which will remain the lingua franca of this century. Spending a few years abroad in one’s youth can be extremely useful for one’s future, wherever that may be.

In an uncertain Israeli environment, the important skill of improvisation will frequently be required; further development of it will, therefore, be more than merely useful.

Murphy’s Law is not necessarily valid: Not everything that can go wrong will go wrong, and if Israel continues to flourish in the remarkable way it has, the same skills will come in very handy in finding a place in Israeli society.

In Israel as elsewhere, there will be a small number of people who are extraordinarily talented. If they have reasonable emotional intelligence, they will enjoy unprecedented opportunities in a complex society.

About the Author: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is a board member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (2000-2012). He is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award (2012) of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Future Of Young Israelis”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel as seen from the Sderot.
For the Third Time, Rockets Found in UNRWA Schools
Latest Indepth Stories
Young children 'recruited' by the Al Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) terrorist group for a Shari'a jihadist army in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS poses a great threat to the entire civilized world in general and liberal democracies in particular.

kerry clown

Kerry is preoccupied with pressuring Israel, notwithstanding the transformation of the Arab Spring .

journalism

With no shortage of leftist media that seek to distort the news, what should our Torah response be?

Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett

Because let’s face it: Hamas obviously can’t defeat the IDF in the field, soldier against soldier

As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.

Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay accuses the IDF of possible war crimes in Gaza again, cutting slack to Hamas.

There is much I can write you about what is going here, but I am wondering what I should not write. I will start by imagining that I am you, sitting at home in the Los Angeles area and flipping back and forth between the weather, traffic reports, the Ukraine, Mexican illegals and Gaza. No […]

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

It is time for a total military siege on Gaza; Nothing should enter the Gaza Strip.

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

More Articles from Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld
anvil oslo

Studies show that large numbers of Europeans hold a demonic view of Israel.

President Barack Obama met with Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators Tuesday morning

Now that several weeks have passed since President Obama’s visit to Israel, it is possible to get a better perspective on many of its aspects. Focus must not only be placed on what was said and done, but also on what was missing.

On February 17, the Dutch Nederland 2 TV station broadcast an interview with Dutch Turkish youth conducted by volunteer youth worker Mehmet Sahin. In the broadcast the youngsters expressed their admiration for Hitler and his role in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust.

On October 15, the Knesset voted unanimously to dissolve itself. Elections will be held on January 22, 2013. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to take the step after realizing he could not obtain a majority for his proposed budget.

When Israelis say, “I worry about my grandchildren’s future,” it has a radically different dimension than similar concerns expressed in many other countries.

Since Oslo we have had some Israeli governments emulate Neville Chamberlain’s foolish position. While the current government has not done so, there certainly is vast room for improvement in the presentation of Israel’s case to the world.

There are few societies where the contradiction between Holocaust distortion and Holocaust commemoration is as pronounced as it is in the Netherlands. This phenomenon came to the fore earlier this month on National Memorial Day, May 4, designated to commemorate the many victims of the German occupier. One hundred thousand Dutch Jews – more than 70 percent of the country’s pre-war community – were by far the largest group of victims.

Last month the IDF responded to rockets being launched from Gaza into southern Israel by bombing Gazan targets. It took little time for some media outlets to equate the Palestinian aggressor with the Israeli aggressed. It took only slightly longer for many other media outlets to highlight Israel’s actions while shoving continued Palestinian aggression into the background.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-future-of-young-israelis/2012/08/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: