How do Americans see Israel in general?
by Wladimir Struminski
Assaf is thrilled. The student party was great. But what impressed him the most: everyone stood quietly in line at the entrance to the restaurant rented especially for the event. No jostling, no cheating, no impatient domination. "Like in America," enthuses the young Tel Aviv. Osnat is satisfied for a completely different reason. She bought a washing machine on the internet. The good piece was not only significantly cheaper than in the neighboring shopping center, it was also delivered on time to the minute.
delivers and connected without any problems. The delivery guys were nice and didn't break anything in the bathroom. Osnat has the highest praise for this: "Like in America". Elimelech, operator of a house cleaning service, is dependent on high-profile advertising. He has shown the US flag at the very top of his website and recommends his services with a solid commitment to quality: "Like in America".
The examples could be increased. Whether the new sofa is particularly comfortable or the new motorway is particularly wide - it is always called »Kmo be-Amerika«. In the Jewish state "America" is, it may seem, simply a synonym for "good". Decorating yourself with American symbols is considered chic, right down to the air freshener painted with Stars and Stripes that dangles from the inside mirror in the car.
The veneration that Israelis as individuals and Israeli society as a whole show to the world power across the ocean is unparalleled worldwide - including the USA itself. For example, President Shimon Peres did not exaggerate too much last week when he assured George W. Bush: " You have come to a country that the United States of America loves deeply and without reservation. "
True enough, America is also given the title "prestigious" in many other countries. If Israeli young academics only want to get their PhD in the United States, there are similar tendencies elsewhere. After all, a successful stay at an elite American university in many parts of the world is a ticket to an academic career at a local alma mater. Even if the Israeli television viewers watch one shallow TV series made in the USA after the other, they are not that different from other people on earth. But where is there a difference? In other countries, a debate may be broadcast parallel to the New York crime thriller, the participants of which drag the United States through the mud with lust. In Israel this will not be the case due to a lack of critical masses.
The sympathy and admiration for the USA, believes Gadi Taub, historian and America expert at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, do not
ultimately from a feeling of dependency that the Israelis feel towards the American protective power. In Europe, the researcher says, a dose of anti-Americanism may earn politicians votes. Not in Israel. The fact that Yitzchak Rabin defeated the Likud chief and incumbent prime minister in the 1992 Knesset elections was due not least to a controversy between Shamir's cabinet and Washington. The then US President, George Bush Sr., had made American loan guarantees for Israel dependent on peace policy concessions. Shamir was not ready for that. In itself, according to Taub, not a decisive crisis, but the dispute gave many Israeli citizens the impression that Shamir was going on a confrontational course with the United States. That cost the Likud enough votes to bring the Labor Party to power. The intellectual influence of the Americans is also overwhelming. For example, Israel, once the land of pioneers and social solidarity, has now devoted itself wholeheartedly to the American-tinged market economy. And it will not be a coincidence that Israel's most influential and radical economic liberal, ex-prime minister and ex-finance minister Benjamin Netanyahu, spent his youth in the United States and also studied there.
Criticism of the adoption of American standards is limited, even if it does exist. Something like
Peres drew the neoliberal economic orientation a few years ago - at that time he was not yet the head of state - as "pig capitalism". However, that was a failure against Is-
rael's economic policy, not against the US. Jossi Sarid, ex-chairman of the left-wing Meretz party, would also like Israel to take over more from Europe and less from the USA, but he also attests to America having many “beautiful aspects”. The extreme right is less gracious to the United States. Above all, they resent Washington's commitment to an Israeli-Palestinian peace. This would mean a division of the land of Israel - a grave sin from the point of view of the right. Conversely, Israeli Arabs think so. They consider the USA to be too Zionist-friendly, despite the declared American goal of establishing an independent Palestinian state. Here too, however, criticism is mixed with admiration. "Well, we really didn't need Bush here," hissed Abir, a young Arab woman from the Jerusalem area. Her friend San’a also makes serious accusations against the USA: Her application for a tourist visa was rejected by the American embassy in Tel Aviv: As a bachelor, she is under general suspicion of wanting to stay in America illegally. Perhaps not without reason: "America" raves about San ‹a, who is wrapped in the black headscarf of a pious Muslim woman," is the best ".
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