Elkana Bar Eitan

Israel at the center of attention?

Former Israeli PM Ehud Barak spoke last night at the Local JCC of Greater Washington D.C. At the start of his lecture, he spoke about the Iranian attack on Israel two hours before. While all Israelis in the room were well informed and have been following Israeli news constantly, Americans in the room were shocked to hear the breaking news for the first time. It was fascinating to see hundreds of worried American Jews grab their phones in search of more information. PM Barak didn’t even realize the effect he had on the audience (paying attention to others was never his strength) and he probably couldn’t imagine that there was someone in the world that didn’t hear the breaking news from Israel.

An hour before, while driving home from work, I was listening to a popular radio panel on NPR (National Public Radio). The topic being discussed was Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. The conversation went on for over 30 minutes and Israel wasn’t even mentioned once. I kept waiting until eventually I got so frustrated I decided to call the radio offices and try to get through to the live podcast. It was obvious to me that Israel must be part of the story. Israel had to be THE focus of this topic. I had all the reasons to believe so. Israel was the only country in immediate threat. It was Netanyahu that pushed Trump to make this decision. It was the Israeli Mossad that was able to physically collect the most updated intelligence. And now, it was Israel that was being attacked by Iran!

After realizing that the Iranian attack on Israel had not made the headlines, I was curious to check what the news did cover during this time.

CNN’s headline was about Trump’s effect on future oil prices; the elections in Malaysia and even Venezuela currency issues made the headlines ahead of Iran’s attack on Israel. FOX News’ headline was about the 3 Americans released from S. Korea. Israel did make the second headline together with some more details about Lawyer Michael Cohen’s bank transfers. BBC also focused on the Malaysia elections results and then shared some gossip about Prince Harry and Meghan before mentioning the situation in the Middle East. However, after reading their headline about the situation in Syria I probably would rather them not mention anything at all. The BBC headline said that according to ‘Israeli reports’ Iran attacked military outposts in the “occupied” Golan Heights. Someone who is not aware of the historic facts might assume that these territories were “occupied” by Israeli forces during this current round of violence. Most likely they would not know that this area was conquered during the Six-Day War over 50 years ago and annexed in 1981.

I would like to suggest that Israel’s biggest concern is APATHY. Most people simply don’t care. Nations, like human beings, focus on their own issues and have very little interest in others. Perhaps instead of arguing amongst ourselves, i.e., those who already care but might have opposite opinions, the focus should be on getting more people to simply care. Get more people to be aware of Israel, about its achievements, and about its difficulties. Realize how much this young country has accomplished. Care about the ordinary people that live in constant threat of terror rockets and tunnels simply because they live in the Jewish State.

About the Author
Elkana is an entrepreneur and business manager with a deep passion for education. Since 2007, Elkana has been in the field of experiential education and social entrepreneurship, focusing on community building, social awareness, humanities, and Jewish identity. Elkana currently resides in Eshhar, together with his wife, two daughters, and son.
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