Parents of soldiers, soldiers, government officials, those who live in settlements, writers: everyone has an opinion about how to deal with the conflict that has enveloped Israel since its inception. Different people’s experiences affect their views and shape their opinions. Some say that peace will come once we give up the settlements. Others believe that as long as we hold out in the settlements, proving only we will dictate our actions, we will exist. When analyzing different people’s perspectives, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the different ideologies and the fear that the different viewpoints will create a divided country. And with a divided country, Israel’s existence would shrivel, regardless of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
In the Atlantic cover article “Is Israel Finished” (May 2008), Jeffrey Goldberg illustrates Israel’s internal conflict by juxtaposing David Grossman’s perspective and Prime Minister Olmert’s perspective. Through the way in which they relate to one another and the different events in their lives that shape their opinions, it becomes clear how far apart the many opinions are regarding what is in the best interest of the Israeli state. Grossman, having had a son die while fighting in Lebanon and being an expert at the art of language, believes very strongly in a verbal/conversational approach with the more moderate of the Palestinian people. Olmert, on the other hand, being a strategist and competitive in nature, has a very different opinion about what is in Israel’s best interest.
At first, after reading the article I felt disillusioned. It felt like there were just too many hurdles to overcome: not only do we need to employ a strategy that will work, but we need to agree upon a strategy and stand united behind it. Yet after thinking about it long and hard, my disillusionment subsided. The way in which Israel was unique became clear to me. Where else could you find a country where everyone has an opinion? Where else in the world is everyone so passionate and invested in what happens? Suddenly the different opinions didn’t seem so daunting anymore, but rather they were comforting. It hit me that the different opinions were a shield, joined together rather than divergent, serving as a tool to Israel’s success.
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