Of Israeli revolution and the Iranian threat
Every so often, a strange debate arises in the top headlines of Israeli media: Should Israel attack Iran to prevent it from attaining nuclear weapons?
Decisions on such matters should be made behind closed doors, without public intervention, as not everything that is known to intelligence services is provided in the media. Sometimes the considerations are not well understood to the general public, and in most cases create anxieties, which are expressed in them dropping down anything else, for the sake of “public security”.
Let us turn our attention to the link between the recent Israeli protests and the issue of Iran. In 2009, when elections were held in Iran, many argued that there was large-scale counterfeiting. Iranian people rose against the regime and were ruthlessly crushed. We all remember how the regime loyalists shot and killed demonstrators in cold blood. Less dramatic but equally disturbing,
We watch how Netanyahu and his colleagues have raised Israel’s GDP, and how they found a gas resort on our northern coasts; we see them driving around, heavily guarded in their fancy limousines, and we know, collectively, that we all deserve much better.
After months of demonstration, tent sites across the country were ripped apart by policemen and thrown to the dumps, leaving millions with a bitter heart, and several hundreds with no roof above their heads.
The tent revolution brought to the surface complex social and economic issues that have been abandoned for years, always using that same excuse of “public security”, or at brighter times- the so called “peace talks”.
It started with the high price of the government-subsidized cottage cheese and the poorly paid doctors; Grew stronger with the prices of housing; then came the parents complaining about the high costs of child care, until the truth came out clearer than ever: Israeli’s barely have money to breath.
It can be argued that to some extent, the excessive preoccupation with the Iranian threat is an excuse for pushing these important issues aside. Security discourse occupies the center of attention, and the public gets the message that this is not the proper time for “minor” issues such as social justice and economic equality. However, Israel’s existence does not depend on security alone. In many cases, the economic and social circumstances are much more urgent in the eyes of the ordinary citizen, and in this case- united with the whole of his nation- he was ready for a fight.
The Ministry of Social Affairs published a severe report on the acute distress in protest sites around the country, where sanitary, health and safety had gone down the drain. In those camps are people who were left on the streets with no solution, but since the first protest and up to this very day, Israel has not seen a truly encompassing and worthwhile public discussion on those matters, neither has it seen any true attempts to resolve them.
Meanwhile, in the parliament house, as ministers were sipping their elite coffee, social laws were suggested and rejected on the doorstep. By doing that, ministers and parliament members had broken an explicit promise to support such laws. That too, has not been properly discussed in Israeli media.
The questions that should be asked are:
Is the government trying to reshape security agenda to push the protests away from the public attention?
Is security really a top priority in Israel’s agenda, and what would happen if these narrow minded considerations create unnecessary tension with Iran and the Arab world?
As I am writing these lines, a loud sound of siren suddenly invades my ears. I ask myself: is today a memorial day? No, it must be a sign of warning. Perhaps rockets are on their way from Lebanon, or maybe, god forbid, an atom bomb from Iran. Intuitively I start praying, and after 5 minutes of no explosions, I calm down and carry on with my work.
Israeli Government has an interest in creating public opinion supporting an attack on Iran, and it raises that support by producing collective fear. It is important to expose and remind the public that reality has not changed dramatically, and that Control of the electronic and printed media allows for powerful people to promote their interests, regardless of what’s really happening on the surface.
It is also worth asking whether the media purports to create reality. After all, it has been declared that the revolution is “dead”. If no sever actions are taken, we can expect a process where the media, slowly but persistently, ignore what happened in the summer and deal with other subjects easier to digest, and by doing that, keep the people quiet. The irony is that the images seen in Iran in 2009 are used as an excuse to attack Iran, when in fact, Israeli government and media are becoming more and more similar to their opponents in Iran, and are kindling a fire that could lead to similar events here, in the holy land.
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