As the war enters its 111th day, there is less clarity rather than more. In fact, Israelis have so many questions that it is difficult to know where to begin. As a result I prepared a one-question, ad hoc survey to help the government and the army stay focussed. Please note that this informal survey has no standard deviation. No stated margin of error. No carefully calculated representation from the various sides of the political or cultural divide. This questionnaire was created by scrolling through my phone contacts and deciding who was suitably opinionated to respond.
The survey does have some limitations. The respondents are all immigrants from Anglo countries. Admittedly, it is very white, Ashkenazi, national religious immigrants of 30 or less years. Those are the people in my phone book. Another limitation of the unscientific selection process was that by asking my outspoken friends, most ignored the word “one”. The majority listed at least three questions and left me to select their best ones. The other possibility is that, once given a platform, they just couldn’t help themselves so they let it all out.
(Warning: Do not try to reproduce this study at home unless my friends are also your friends.)
The ask: On the 100th day of Operation Swords of Iron, what is your most pressing question about the war?
Here is a sampling of what they had to say:
- Why did we allow Hamas to accumulate and manufacture so many weapons?
- How did all the people who were supposed to be taking care of us make such a grave mistake and miss all the obvious signs?
- Can we truly defeat Hamas?
- How do you undo decades of the “destroy Israel” brainwashing within the Palestinian population?
- Why was I visiting a 25-year-old widow who was sitting shiva for her 26-year-old husband?
- Will news channels 12 and 13 ever get the message that the majority of us want unity and to stop demoralizing Israelis and our army ?
- How will this war impact my kids, financially, emotionally, physically?
- How will society support the soldiers and civilians with PTSD?
- Will our soldiers have to stay in Gaza after the war officially ends?
- Why don’t I feel safe here anymore?
- What happens the day after the war ends?
- When will it end?
- Do we have a specific plan to end the war?
- Why isn’t the world screaming for the return of the hostages?
- Will the world let us do what we have to do?
- Why are we still predominantly fighting this war with boots-on-the -ground rather than using our superior air force and technology more?
- Are we going into Lebanon?
My personal favourite “When is Max coming home?” was a little narrowly focused for the survey but speaks to the singular objective of a concerned grandmother. Max is a lucky guy. On a broader level, we hope all the Maxes come home safely and soon.
The most interesting result of the survey was that most Ashkenazi, white, national religious Israelis are on the same page. It’s difficult to imagine that Sefardi, Indian and Mizrachi Jews, the Circassian and Druze communities, and some Muslim Bedouins, who also have family members in the IDF, feel any different. After 111 days we have had more than enough time to think about what is bothering us. As it turns out, everything is bothering us. First and foremost is that our government hasn’t included us in the circulation of its War Cabinet meeting notes.
So now that the questions have been collected in a nice neat package, we hope someone in the know will have some “rachmunes” or compassion for us and help us better understand what is going on. Please don’t leave us hanging too long because once we have some answers to these questions we can begin preparing our next survey.