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Challenges on the day after the war

43 days after that terrible October 7th, it is already possible and necessary to look at the day after the war, whether it is in a month, six months or more.

Security: Without a doubt, Israel will choose to further increase its inflated security budget. On October 7, we saw that the security system in all its branches, intelligence gathering, defense, attack, reserve mobilization, the home front – everything is not functioning despite a budget of NIS 64 billion per year. Which, as mentioned, will increase further burden on the state’s budget and services.

We will shield ourselves even more. We will build more fences, more electronic means, more listening devices, more anti-missile and other means of defence. But we can never be completely protected. At the end of the day, loopholes will still be found, the possibility of paragliders or suicide drones or any innovative thing or just a simple cut in the fence. You can’t defeat someone who has nothing to lose. And Hamas and the Palestinians have nothing to lose.

The solution: Peace. We all know the depth of the fracture we experienced, the trauma following the massacre of some 1,200 victims that could have been prevented.

The great pain is of course because of the victims and the kidnapped, but also because it was preventable and wasn’t.

There is no other choice than to change the reality of more and more victims on both sides. As the peace with Egypt and Jordan ended years of wars, here too we need to “give peace a chance”.

The trouble is that the members of the current government and their supporters in the present and probably in the future will do everything to prevent it.

The economy:

Even before the events of October 7, the Israeli economy was going downhill, for various reasons and mainly due to the justice reform promoted by Netanyahu. Now after October 7, the ball is rolling faster.

The costs of war, forced layoffs and industries that are out of work and do not know when and how they will return (such as events and performances for example), paint a worrying picture about the future of our economy.

The solution: in the immediate term we need to try and reduce state expenses, reduce private expenses and invest in production and education. In the long term, it is necessary to train the entire public in Israel with tools to deal with and work in a changing world. Israel needs to become productive, self-sustaining. Otherwise, the thin man will not be able to carry the fat man, as Netanyahu defined it in the past.

Israeli high-tech:

On October 7, unfortunately, Israeli high-tech was also seriously injured. I believe this is an industry that will find it difficult to recover from the severe blow of October 7.

Israeli high-tech is based on two things: 1. The narrative/belief that Israelis are lean, smart, insolent and able to face every challenge and threat; 2. The Israeli army and intelligence services.

Both of these proved to be an abject failure on October 7th. Therefore, I don’t believe too many would choose to invest in the start-up nation companies of 8200 graduates and others. This can become a fatal blow and it is not clear how to restore it.

The solution: The way to deal with this in my understanding is to create collaborations with entrepreneurs in other countries. That the face and appearance of the venture will not be Israeli, let’s say a German entrepreneur with Israeli partners.

The political system: 

The thought that after the end of the war the political system will change for the better is an illusion. Even a short time after October 7th and we see the same tactics and provocations.

Also, after violent events of such magnitude, the public moves further to the right. Israel is already in a demographic situation with a significant preference for the right, both due to high birth rates among religious communities and due to the indoctrination processes that the government puts the entire public through, especially children and youth.

The absurd thing is that the right is calling on the left to “sober up”.It should be the exact opposite.

Likud has been in power here for the majority of the last 46 years,  but it is the left that needs to “sober up”. The current reality is that the left has sent money in suitcases to Hamas and moved divisions to the West Bank. 

The perfect proof that the indoctrination of the general public works.

The solution: The only option that may change this reality is a true Jewish-Arab partnership.

The Arab public constitutes 23% of Israel’s population. If there is real cooperation and concern for the needs of the Arab minority, and also some progress towards a Palestinian state alongside Israel, it will be possible.

The legal reform:

There is no doubt that Levin and his partners in Forum Kohelet know The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. A crisis is the perfect time to take advantage and promote far-reaching changes that will transform Israeli democracy, and they will promote it. You can bet on that. 

The solution: changing of government (see previous section). That is the only way. 

The middle-upper class:

These are the people who took to the streets the past year against the current government that is working to destroy and take over Israeli democracy. These are the first people who enlisted in the reserves and these are the people who came to replace the state to immediately respond to the needs of the families, the evacuees and the soldiers.

Many of those people say to themselves: “Now we are fighting to protect and save this country. Then we pack.’ In my estimation, many will decide to leave the country. Not because of security concerns regarding Hamas, but because the future is of a crowded country, with a very high birth rate, where most of the children are from  communities that do not work or serve in the army, with an economy deteriorating to the point of crisis, with a poor education system, with a government and fanatical elements that try to damage democracy, and in the Middle East surrounded by hostile countries – There is nothing optimistic here.

The solution: There is no simple solution. You need to hard reset everything here and try to start over. What is there now is simply not sustainable.

Health: Israel’s health system will collapse. Mainly because hundreds to thousands of doctors and other professionals will leave Israel. Simply because in other places they are paid handsomely and here they and their children have no future.

The meaning of this is catastrophic. A health system that at best dries up and collapses under the load, will not be able to respond to a growing population. If you now have to wait 10 months for a professional doctor in the public system, this will be doubled.

All this while the mental health system in Israel is already collapsing. Now with a dramatic increase in needs, how will the public be answered?

The solution: a fast decision to significantly increase the remuneration of doctors and to significantly increase the number of people who are admitted to medical school, which in the medium term will make it possible to stabilize the system in terms of the number of doctors.

Education and mental health: 

The mental impact of the October 7 events on the public is tremendous. It is almost impossible to find people who do not carry with them anguish to the point of depression following the events of the last month and a half. This disaster reached almost every family, every workplace. for all of us and even those who were not personally affected, but saw the pictures and were exposed to the stories, this post trauma is hard.

The most difficult problem is of children and youth. There, in light of the fact that they are exposed to information without mediation and do not have the abilities to process and deal with it, this is a long-term trauma that is not clear how it will affect our children.

It is important to remember that these are children who already experienced years of Covid19, another year of demonstrations in the streets against the government and its actions, division and discrimination and now a horrible massacre.

It is not at all clear how to overcome trauma on a collective and individual level. Certainly as long as kidnapped children sleep in Gaza. Hoping that they and all the abductees will be released immediately.

These data are not published, but it is likely that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of suicides in Israel since October 7. Simply because it is extremely difficult to deal with the mental burden and the enormous loss.

The education system is also a money drain, it now has to deal with hundreds of thousands of children with post-trauma and anxiety or those who have not been in an educational setting for about six months (long vacation, holidays, war). It is not clear what tools the existing and poor quality education system has to deal with this crazy reality, not even after the Yom Kippur War.

In general, the Yom Kippur War is not comparable to the October 7 disaster. This time around the events unfolded here in Israeli territory, in Israeli Kibbutizm, mostly against civilians. The difficult scenes were accessible to a large part of the public and also to children and certainly to youth, as a result of accessibility to social networks.

The missiles fired at the cities in Israel and children who have to deal with sirens and security rooms – three quarters of its citizens.

The solution: recognition by the Ministry of Health of the various mental health professions and a significant increase in the budget and positions intended for mental health professions. This should be done ASAP.

Otef Aza:

I very much hope that the people of the Otef, many of whom I know personally, will return and restore it. But there are quite a few communities and kibbutzim that have already found alternative places for their communities, in Jerusalem or Kiryat Gat. Unfortunately, it will be very difficult to return the residents to live in the Otef without giving them a real sense of security.

The surrounding kibbutzim were originally established to serve as a first line of defense for Gaza. Those were the days when kibbutzniks had weapons and they fought every day and defended their homes. This is not the case today.

It is likely that what will happen is that enormous resources will be invested in additional protection of the area. But if a person does not have a sense of security, it doesn’t matter how many layers there are in his security rooms or fences around the kibbutz.

Whoever got this far, I want to apologize for my pessimism.

Dramatic and far-reaching changes will be required in order for us to turn this ship in a positive direction of prosperity and growth. Right now we are on the Titanic with a drunk captain and crew fueling hatred and clinging to power.

About the Author
Attorney, former communications director for the Israeli government, lobbyist, strategy, former reporter for Galei Tzahal and Haaretz, former Shaliach to the US, CEO of The Israeli TV & Film Producers Association, Campaign manger for several parties and incumbents. Led several social causes, organizations, causes and unions. Life long volunteer and student.
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