Looking at the recent elections in Israel, Joseph Dana argues in the National that Israelis are hiding their heads in the sand about the profound instability in the region, and the inevitability of the dismantling of the Israeli regime of occupation. Dana says that Israelis had better start reading the tea leaves, and study the South African model, so that the transformation is relatively peaceful. Dana:
Iran and Syria were noticeably absent from exit polling data as Israelis made their election about taxes in Tel Aviv and whether ultra-orthodox men should have to join the military. Instead of electing a general from the military establishment, Israeli voters made former television journalist Yair Lapid the kingmaker.
This demonstrates that the security narrative inside Israeli society is not as strong as it may seem when seen from the West, and it also shows that the status quo of occupation and unequal governance has entrenched itself in the Israeli mindset.
Like many white South Africans at the height of the apartheid system, Israelis are desperate to feel normal. They understand that the situation with the Palestinians is not ideal, but see no other way. Therefore they prefer to pretend that their country is like Spain or Greece, where the most pressing issues are those related to the financial situation of their society.
The reality is that this dangerous thinking is harming Israel’s ability to see the legitimate national security dangers that are looming on the horizon.
Ultimately, Israel’s system of unequal governance will be dismantled, along with the intellectual scaffolding employed to support it. This is where South Africa’s continuing process of unravelling apartheid can inform and assist Israelis and Palestinians in a constructive though rather painful manner.
The time for this debate is now, before the coming storm of transformation shakes the Middle East.