Frenzied but Steadfast

(New York Times) Shmuel Rosner - With the Syrian government threatening to retaliate against Israel if Syria is bombed by the U.S., thousands of Israelis lined up at distribution points for gas masks. Since looking scared isn't much of an asset in the region, this display of apprehension might seem like a cause for concern. Israelis can seem fragile - but they aren't when war actually begins. Thirteen years ago, Palestinian suicide bombers miscalculated that the Israeli public would crack under a wave of terrorism. In fact, the escalating violence "galvanized the Israeli public," as Daniel Byman, a professor at Georgetown University, wrote in A High Price, his book about Israeli counterterrorism. The Second Intifada was beaten back. Seven years ago, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah, made a similar mistake. Israelis were angry with their government after the war, not for waging it, but because the IDF failed to deliver a decisive victory. Last November, even while rockets were raining on Israeli cities, more than 80% of Israelis supported Operation Pillar of Defense, an eight-day military campaign against Hamas in Gaza.

2013-09-04 00:00:00

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