I'm a big believer in looking at things from the perspective of (what Annales Historians call) 'la longue duree.' Even in the midst of a war, living from bulletin to bulletin, it's important to keepone's ears and eyes open for deeper trends that find expression in these difficult times. Obviously, the power of Islam (and the desire to ignore it) is a central issue, but I (and Richard Landes and Danny Pipes) have written about that at length.
Instead, I have to admit that I'm deriving a lot of personal satisfaction that my observations about the deepening of Jewish identity (and, more specifically, religious devotion) in contemporary Israel are being confirmed. This brings with it the Gotterdammerung of the old, secular, Ashkenazi elites whose parents and grandparnts built the state and now think they own it (and can try to de-judaize and destroy it.)
The first point was made by Jameel:
10:07 PM Have you noticed something about the pictures of the war?
I read this comment on a newsite today...did you notice that one of the most predominant aspects of the pictures of this war -- more than ANY other war in Israel's history -- is the abundance of Jewish religiousity evident in the IDF today. While there was the one classic poster of the IDF soldier in 1973 holding a lulav and etrog ontop of his tank during the Yom Kippur war -- today there are literally hundreds and hundreds of pictures of IDF soldiers praying with tefillin, talitot, holding sifrei Torah, reciting Tefillat HaDerech -- Judaism abounds, proudly. Granted the saying goes that "there are no athiests in a foxhole," yet I find it telling that not only is there such a wave of religion going on at the front lines, but that it's getting so much positive publicity as well.
The second is made by an avowedly leftist journalist, Eliezer Yaari, in today's YNet. A few tidbits:
Into the third week of the second war in Lebanon, a small revolution has taken place, a swift and decisive one, one whose end will bring about a change in the country's rule.
An important social sector has raised its head as a result of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's slip of the tongue, whether intentional or not. It has pounded on the table and forced its stand on the cabinet and its leadership, without negotiating teams or settlements distributing the spoils.
And what did Olmert say? He said that in his opinion this war would strengthen the need for his realignment plan. Two hours after uttering these words he received an ultimatum: if this issue is still alive, said the West Bank settlement representatives in the Knesset, we shall call our people home: from junior to senior officers, those in the standing and reserve army, as well as the people of Eli, Itzhar, Beit El and Ofra. These are the spears with which you have embarked on this war, and he who controls these spears cannot permit himself to threaten them with the destruction of their homes. That's what Knesset member Benny Alon said in a statement that is an explicit threat calling for rebellion, unheard of in the region since the War of Independence.
And indeed within 12 hours, Ehud Olmert folded, as no prime minister has folded since Benjamin Nethanyahu vis-à-vis the Khaled Mashaal affair.
This event, which was almost washed away in the blood of the innocent, precedes the new reality that will set in when the war is over: a political, civilian earthquake, whose statement by the settlers' representatives in the Knesset will sound the first note.
In the second phase of this development, a determined home front will direct everything it has towards a conflict with the cabinet in its bid to hold it accountable.
They and their brothers from the peripheries, along with Jerusalem's bus passengers, the heroes of Nahariya and Carmiel, the underprivileged from Tiberias, the farmers at Mrar, Saar, Dovev and Shtula, the bus drivers, the firefighters from the north, the Nahara\iya hospital staff and the welfare people at the Tiberias city hall, will all demand to be heard.
Therefore, it is unacceptable, that these voices, including those of the settlers and new immigrants, will not be represented at the cabinet. The intermediate phase will be, how surprising, the establishment of an emergency cabinet, in order to heal the wounds and to cover the leaderships' hides.
Those who remained silent throughout the war will have to start looking for jobs, because they will have to make room for representatives of the people. And the prime minister, who himself is a role model of political survivability, more than alluded this week, that he understand the new rules of the game.