This second episode of Israeli talk show “Within an Occupier” is featuring New Profile, an Israeli organization seeking to raise introspection about the role of the militarism in Israeli society. This interview is incredibly sensitive to the questions: What does it mean to be militaristic? Is Israel unreasonably militaristic considering it’s been living in a war state of mind? Is the draft necessary? What are the effects on society of “security” becoming more than a state of affairs and instead of state of mind?
What I find so endearing about these women and their work is they’re sincerely coming to an awakening from inside a seige mentality to realize their own society’s framework. For us on the outside, who life in safety and prosperity, it’s obvious that Israelis have been living too long in a state of fear, shellshock, and danger.
And I say this not to patronize their revelations — the revelations of visitors to Israel are just the reverse. We realize how intense it is to live in a such an environment, we feel guilty for our safety, and most of us are not attracted to living in such a place permanently. Our Diaspora mental freedom is an opportunity to share with Israelis something they’ll not find at home but must find a way to inculcate. Without it, I doubt that democratic principles will endure long.
The most cogent point to me is around minute seven when women’s rights activist Ilana Sugabker suggests that the focus around national security has overwhelmed personal, economic and social security. “Security” is done a disservice when it has only one context of importance, she implies when she says, “How can we talk about violence against women when there’s a war in Gaza? When the situation in Sderot is so dire, or in Lod and Ramle?” (Those two cities are Arab-Jewish mixed living cities in Israel where relations are tense.) The problems facing everyone as a whole, or women as a whole, or men as a whole, are prevented from being addressed because Jews vs. Arabs is the dominant paradigm.
Overall, I thought the program was very well produced and a beautiful view into Israeli civil society asking the important questions. Without saying security concerns aren’t important, I advocate that a way out of the conflict will have more benefits for Israelis — beyond deaths prevented — than we can possibly understand.
You can view the first episode of Within An Occupier here and find more of SocialTV’s work here.