Here’s a fascinating collection of Israeli bloggers talking about life as Jews in Israel. The message is depressing, namely that Arabs are virtually invisible and the occupation doesn’t exist.
The truth is, a lot of people like me grew up in Israel, and never really mingled with Arabs. I grew up in Haifa, the “City of co-existence”. But I only saw them when I went down the hill to buy a shawarma. They lived in their neighborhoods, and I lived in mine. They went to their schools, and I went to mine.
I served in the navy, so I didn’t meet Palestinians at checkpoints, roadblocks or while enforcing curfews. Even when I was shot at by Arabs (Lebanese, in this case), I couldn’t see them, they were so far away… All in all, I led an Arab-free existence in a country predominately concerned with them.
Many people don’t think there is such a thing as “the occupation”. That’s the unfortunate result of the Oslo Accord and the establishing of the Palestinians Authority. People don’t seem to understand that Israel is still in control of almost every aspect of the Palestinians’ lives – which, as a result, have been reduced to little more than survival.
In fact, most Israelis don’t know much about Palestinians’ lives. Unlike the years before Oslo, almost nobody visits the West Bank anymore, and Palestinians don’t enter Israel. For most Israelis, the Palestinian problem is an abstract concept, almost imaginary. The drive from some Tel Aviv suburbs to the nearest Palestinian city takes about 10 minutes, but these are two separate worlds.