A state under siege

Israeli society is increasingly agitated by threats of boycotts, de-legitimization campaigns, and physical threats of a new intifada, terrorism, the possibility of the airport being targeted by missiles. Each side of the political spectrum accuses the other of causing unending fear among the public. One side frightens through threats of a new holocaust or threats of increased boycotts, and the people of Israel find themselves confused and unable to see the real threat, upon which there is a consensus across Israeli society.

The State of Israel has one main road. And it is no accident that this road is called Route 1, which connects between the Tel Aviv area and the Jerusalem area. The State of Israel put out a warning against travel on the other road between the two main population blocks – Route 443 – as it is a target for Molotov cocktails and stone-throwing. Thus, public figures are advised to avoid travelling on this route.

The State of Israel, a “regional superpower”, a global leader in Hi-tech, and occupier of territories – is exposed in shame to the fact that in reality, it only has one road, where drivers must sit in long traffic jams on their way to and from Jerusalem. When an international public figure visits Israel, such as Secretary of State Kerry or European heads of state and ministers, this one road is closed to general traffic.

This is no threat, but is our reality. A state with one road is under daily threat of being cut in half, blocked, and under siege. This is the current situation on the road to Jerusalem, and was also the situation during the Second Intifada in the Netanya and Sharon region, where only eight miles spans between the sea and the Palestinian Authority, as well as the situation at various times on the road to Eilat, when roadblocks were set up along the only road to Eilat, following terror activity, cutting the south from the rest of the country.

Nobody is dealing with this threat – not the left wing, the right wing, thinkers, nor security experts. It is surprising that the public which suffers from this phenomenon has yet to raise its voice against this insufferable situation, a situation in which we are dependent upon one road.

Many around the world view Israel the way one would view Canada or Australia, and they forget that the debates about territory are not about hundreds of kilometers must actually dozens of meters, and these arguments are in fact existential in nature, as certain solutions for borders are existentially impossible. The Israeli public needs answers on these issues – both from the left wing and the right wing – and the sooner the better.

About the Author
Dr David Altman is senior vice-president at the Netanya Academic College and vice-chair of the college's Strategic Dialogue Center