September 7, 2010
Posted: 727 GMT
In a piece that is creating a bit of controversy in Israel and abroad our colleagues at Time magazine filed a cover story titled "Why Israel Doesn't Care About Peace". Jerusalem bureau chief Karl Vick writes of an Israeli population largely unconcerned with issues of war and peace with Palestinians and more focused on enjoying the country's thriving economy and improving social conditions.
"...the truth is, Israelis are no longer preoccupied with the matter. They’re otherwise engaged; they’re making money; they’re enjoying the rays of late summer. A watching world may still define their country by the blood feud with the Arabs whose families used to live on this land and whether that conflict can be negotiated away, but Israelis say they have moved on.”
"...But wait. Deep down (you can almost hear the outside world ask), don’t Israelis know that finding peace with the Palestinians is the only way to guarantee their happiness and prosperity? Well, not exactly. Asked in a March poll to name the “most urgent problem” facing Israel, just 8% of Israeli Jews cited the conflict with Palestinians, putting it fifth behind education, crime, national security and poverty. Israeli Arabs placed peace first, but among Jews here, the issue that President Obama calls “critical for the world” just doesn’t seem—critical."
While Israelis themselves will speak about their fellow countrymen who live in the "Tel Aviv bubble" divorced from some of the realities of the conflict, many Jewish Israeli will tell you it is impossible for them to escape or ignore the conflict when their sons and daughters are forced to serve in the military and it's not that they don't want peace, but that they are tired, they say, of offering concessions and getting nothing from the Palestinians in return. But as Vick writes, many have lost hope in any sort of peace process making "the Palestinian question distant from the minds of many Israelis"
Analysis of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is always subject to heated and emotional debate so it is no surprise that the article has caused a stir among some supporters of Israel.
Arutz Sheva, a news service serving Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank published an opinion piece on the Time story calling it a "blood libel" against Israel and evidence that the magazine and "countless other media in the Western world, can no longer be trusted to tell the truth."
Pro-Israel media watchdog group HonestReporting charges the story "glosses over any legitimate reasons why Israelis may have lost interest in the details of the peace process" and laments that "Time Magazine doesn't care about Israel"
Vick, who was recently assigned to Jerusalem says the cover headline for the story was "meant to be provocative and intrigue" but defended the reporting. "There is always debate and criticism of anything that challenges conventional wisdom" he said.
"It was apparent to me that life here is really good and when security is good there is no urgency"