a different side of Israel

“Flagging Patriotism” on Israel’s 59th?

Independence Day 2007
Less than three days before Israel’s 59th independence anniversary, we finally put some flags out on our balcony, courtesy of a local newspaper. In many neighborhoods there appears to be a marked absence of flags and banners that are usually hung out in the days preceding Israel’s annual national holiday; and from recent articles and news commentaries, this ‘phenomena’ seems to be a nation-wide reality.

More than eight months following the end of last summer’s war in Lebanon, and with an atmosphere rife with political controversy and scandal, it’s no wonder that fewer symbols of national pride are being displayed by a public that is becoming more and more disillusioned with what is transpiring – especially among the country’s leadership. To give you an idea about what has brought all of this on, a quick survey highlight the following problems that Israelis presently have to deal with:

1. The President of the State has been indicted for charges of rape and other forms of sexual misconduct.

2. The Prime Minister is under investigation for his handling of the war, as well as a number of financial dealings involving properties and other investments.

3. The Defense Minister, chosen for a position he was completely unqualified for, is under fire and many have called for his resignation.

4. The Finance Minister is now under increasing investigation for allegations of both Grand Theft and fraud, with “clarion calls” for his dismissal.

5. More and more Israelis, especially aged ones (particularly Holocaust survivors) are living under the poverty line and cannot even buy enough food to survive. This also includes one in every four Israeli children.

6. The three Israeli captive soldiers are still unaccounted for, and the present government appears unwilling or incapable of securing their release.

7. It was revealed this weekend that emigration (Yeridah) is now exceeding immigration (Aliyah) for the first time in over twenty years. And this is despite an increase in new immigrants (Olim) from France and other European countries.

Need one say more…..

It’s not the first time that following a major military conflict that feelings of dismay and lack of patriotism have been evident in the Jewish State. What makes this year’s phenomena even more striking however, are the other problems that go along with the aftermath of the Lebanon II war.

Israel’s growing economic affluence, for some, that is, largely brought on by the “get rich quick” attitudes inspired by the technological boom, has given many people the economic freedom and mobility that enables them to relocate their entire business venture by simply packing their ‘laptop’ into a suitcase and boarding an international flight to American cities like Boston or Santa Clara California. Zionistic calls to ‘settle the land’ are becoming fewer and fewer, particularly following the mass disengagement from settlements in Gaza and planned ‘resettlements’ from large sections of the West Bank.

Though many of the ‘Yordim’ or emigrants are ones who came to Israel from Russia and other former Soviet Union republics, they as a whole are intelligent, highly educated people, whose skills are very much needed to ensure Israel’s technological edge over her adversaries. With countries like Iran on the verge of becoming nuclear powers, this ‘brain drain’ is even more critical, and could even be fatal in next few years.

We must therefore find ways to correct the many problems facing our country; and this can well begin with coming together as a nation and showing a bit more patriotism – even if it is only the placing of flags on our cars and on our balconies.

We don’t have another country.


  1. The star on the flag of Israel is greater than the present days delusions. And so much futher reaching than the “land of Israel”. East, West, North and South, it penetrates to the very ends of the Earth! And represents something even far greater than patriotism. I am a non-Jewish American, and yet wear one around my neck…everyday. Israel, wake up! Wake up and sing 🙂

  2. Well written and to the point.Inspite of all the problems,
    many rotten apples in the leadership,and some serious
    questions unanswered,the flags must be displayed and
    high,because your national pride must never diminish no
    matter what,Happy Birthday Israel!

  3. And please, by all means, tell Gideon Levy I said so!!!

  4. It does seem to be a rough time.

  5. Who’s Gideon Levy?

  6. Gideon Levy writes for Haaretz. He just wrote a very nice article under “Israel at 59 – An Independence Day Supplement” and I had the opportunity to transfer the above post and tell him myself. I also told him about the above posts on this “my favorite Israeli magazine”. Because you know… Good, bad and the ugly… I Love you guys!!!

    You cannot find the article he wrote yesterday regarding the flying of the flag, and that’s a good thing; it was sad.

  7. Your article made me sad. As an Israeli living abroad I am most homesick around these days. I miss the flags. I miss the streets in complete may ham with kids running everywhere and spraying each other with god knows what..and anyone else in the vicinity.
    Here we float in this alienated bubble of comfort.
    We don’t get sprayed.
    I know all the problems are there and some are a real disgrace but I think Israel still has great people and great spirit that I hope will live forever!
    Great Article!

  8. Ahz, bo habaita, habibi!

  9. Ahz, bo habaita, habibi? ugh?

    Loni, The “great spirit” of the people will live forever, we can be sure of that! It’s an amazing spirit! With a great sense of humor, I might add.

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