Mood Is Dark as Israel Marks 62nd Year as a Nation





Every year, Israelis approach the joy of their Independence Day right after immersing themselves in a 24-hour period of grief for fallen soldiers. Before the fireworks burst across the skies Monday night to celebrate the country’s 62nd birthday, the airwaves filled with anguished stories of servicemen and -women killed, the Kaddish prayer of mourning and speeches placing the deeply personal losses of a small country into the sweep of Jewish history.

So there is nothing new or unusual about Israelis’ marking their collective accomplishments with sorrow and concern. It happens all the time, especially among those on the political left who are angry that Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians shows no sign of ending.

But there is something about the mood this year that feels darker than usual. It has a bipartisan quality to it. Both left and right are troubled, and both largely about the same things, especially the Iranian nuclear program combined with growing tensions with the Obama administration.

“There is a confluence of two very worrying events,” said Michael Freund, a rightist columnist for The Jerusalem Post in a telephone interview. “One is the Iranian threat, an existential threat. Add to that the fact that for the first time in recent memory there is a president in the White House who is not overly sensitive to the Jewish state and its interests. You put the two together and it will affect anyone’s mood, even an optimist like me.”

Haaretz, the newspaper that serves as the voice of the shrinking political left in this country, is in a truly depressed mood. Its editorial on Monday contended that Israel “is isolated globally and embroiled in a conflict with the superpower whose friendship and support are vital to its very existence.”...


comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe to our mailing list