I am in Israel for family matters. I thought I would share some of my immediate impressions of the current Arab-Israeli conflict as I see it on the ground today.
I am living in Maaleh Adumim - the first community that was built just outside of Jerusalem on the way to Jericho in 1979 (I think was the year?). This is now a bustling city of perhaps 50,000 (though don't quote me - I haven't checked the latest statistics). It is also one of the city's that pops up every now and then in the news when the USA and the world's political heads decide that Israel should not allow "settlements" or should put a freeze on any more building in the so-called "disputed territories". I lived in Israel in Jerusalem (1976-1991)and in Maaleh Adumim (1991-1998) where I lived until I returned to the States.
Maaleh Adumim is a beautiful CITY - not settlement. It has all the necessary gov't facilities which makes it very convenient when we need to tend to bureaucratic affairs. We used to have to go to Jerusalem and stand in long lines. Today we simply take a bus around the corner and hardly wait very long.
Public transporation in Israel has always been top notch. You can get a bus to wherever you want to go. You can also take a taxi or sherut (shared taxi) for a bit more than a bus if you prefer the door to door service.
Maaleh Adumim is an extremely safe city, as are most cities, towns and just about everywhere in ISRAEL. People are always out walking (yes, I'm finally getting some much needed exercise) and kids are abundant. You will see kids of all ages (from tots and up) hanging out together and walking around with their peers. Families are often seen picnicing on holidays and Shabbat. These are mixed communities - religious and secular of all kinds, as well as mixed ethnicities. All in all it's a wonderful community of people all enjoying this city.
I've noticed a few changes since I was here last in 2007. First of all, I've noticed that people are a lot less pushy. In fact, they're getting downright polite. Okay - I exaggerate. But, yes, they are much more cosmopolitan these days. I'm not sure if it's just because they are tired, exhausted and drained from the endless politics, or if they've simply settled into their own life as Israelis. Whatever it is, it's different then the kind of tension I felt last time.
But let's talk politics for a moment. We all know how things look from the outside - outside of Israel - everywhere else in the world. Arab propagandists are very successful. They are crying loudly about how oppressed and badly treated they are by the terrible monstrous Israeli machine. I have to say that this is a VERY OLD AND WORN OUT STORY ALREADY. This is absolutely NOT TRUE. At least not in ISRAEL.
Perhaps the Arabs are oppressed and badly treated by their own in places like Gaza - and other places where they have some kind of autonomous situation and are governed by themselves. But in Israel they are living quite well.
Throughout Israel you can see Arabs living freely. You can tell them apart because of the way they dress, their head scarves and kaffiyahs. They are are treated in the same hospitals, sit in the same waiting rooms, they are heads of deparments, nurses, doctors, technicians, secretaries and so on. All are trained in their various jobs and professions and are EMPLOYED IN JEWISH ISRAELI INSTITUTIONS.
Seeing the situation "on the ground" I have to admit that I am extremely upset with the way Israel is constantly being portrayed in the world's eye. It is very clear to me that the Arabs are enjoying just about everything that Israel has to offer also to us, the Jews. They are gainfully employed, enjoy the same health care benefits and walk freely here in Israel. It makes me extremely upset that the world chooses to outright ignore the REAL PEACE that exists in Israel. It makes me extremely upset that the ARAB leadership is taking FULL ADVANTAGE of the world's gullibility and apparent comfort in the continued persecution of Jews.
Has anyone stopped to check where in the Arab world are Jews being treated with the same respect and opportunity as the Arabs are treated in Israel?
Come on folks. Stop the noise - the ugly propaganda machine - and let's face reality. Thank GD I am having the chance to live it here.