web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Future Of Young Israelis

Gerstenfeld-081712

Share Button

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.

It is, however, the very complexity of future everyday life and coming technological advances that will lead to the exclusion of an increasing number of people from the mainstream in advanced countries.

To cope with this, one will need knowledge of far more than basic numeracy and literacy, in Israel and elsewhere.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He has authored or edited 20 books, several of which address anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism.

Share Button

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.

No Responses to “The Future Of Young Israelis”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Unit 9900 is an intelligence unit that utilizes the unique capabilities of soldiers on the autism spectrum.
Autism in the IDF: Uniquely Talented Soldiers
Latest Indepth Stories
Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

Dov Shurin

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

Perhaps worse than all the above is the acute lack of unity among Jews

At our seder we emulate the way it was celebrated in Temple times, as if the Temple still stood.

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

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    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: