Israelis have no monopoly of feeling threatened. Residents of Greece, Spain, and a few other developed countries--including some from the USA--have trouble paying their bills, or looking forward to work and a vacation.
Israel''s economy is in pretty good shape. Not for all Israelis, but for most. Being Jews, many aspire to having more, but most can pay their bills and something like 30 percent manage an overseas holiday at least once a year.
When it comes to the tensions associated with terror or outright war, Israel leads the list of countries described as western, developed, and democratic.
Recent years have been quiet on the Palestinian front in terms of successful attacks. A stabbing death at a West Bank bus station at the end of April was the first terrorist killing since 2011. However, a casual reading of the Israeli press will show that almost every day a Palestinian is seized with a weapon or explosive, on the way to avenging something or someone. Or soldiers and the police find themselves dealing with a rain of stones or fire bombs at one of the popular spots for protest on the Palestine-Israel border. Often we go to sleep with the sound of explosives or gun fire from nearby Isaweea. Usually they are fireworks that accompany a wedding or a school celebration. Somewhat less than "usually," but not "infrequently," they are the stun grenades or the rifles used by the police while dealing with rambunctious Isaweeans who would plunder their way through French Hill if given the opportunity.
Currently the threat is greater than enraged individuals, and comes from the north. Syrian and Israeli officials are engaged in a war of words, threatening one another with massive damage. Involved in the verbal mayhem are Israeli air attacks against munitions in Syria meant for Hezbollah, occasional incidents alongside the border on the Golan where shots come from Syria--either from Syrian soldiers or rebels, and either by accident or design--with Israeli responses that so far have produced more Syrian casualties than suffered by Israelis.
Hezbollah is also joining in the fun, claiming to have the means of raining destruction on Tel Aviv. Iranians have not let the opportunity go by without their usual threats to end the Zionist incursion into their Muslim region.
Israelis are quarreling as to whether it was worth attacking missiles on their way to Hezbollah--and thereby provoking the Syrians and their allies--when Hezbollah already had enough missiles to do a great deal of damage.
Israelis defending the airstrikes--and talking about more of the same--by saying that it is always useful to limit the arms going to a terrorist organization.
Israelis are also blaming Americans for the uptick in border incidents and threats. Israel had not admitted the airstrikes. Newspapers here and abroad had described them coming from Israel, but the first official to describe it as an Israeli attack was an American, who was just plain stupid, spoke out of turn, or meant to cause trouble for us.
For their part, Israeli officials who have responded to threats from Assad or Hezbollah are saying that we would do enough damage to topple Assad''s regime, as well as "turning off the lights on Lebanon and sending it backwards several decades." Read that as destroying bridges, power plants, and port facilities, as well as upping the destruction of other assets done in the Lebanese war of 2006.
Given the weakness of the Syrian military and the virtual absence of a Lebanese air force, those threats should not be taken lightly. Israelis are not salivating at the prospects. Better to remind the sleeping dogs what can bite them, and hope that events will not escalate to something that will assure casualties and destruction in Israel.
The head of Israel''s airforce has warned that a sudden collapse of the Assad regime could expose its arsenal of munitions, including missiles and chemical weapons, to a host of rebel groups, which in turn could use them against Israel or other targets--including other rebel groups--without a concern for the consequences. Such a possibility would involve Israel in the chaos on Syrian territory whether it wanted or not to be involved.
Never far from the headlines are the latest rumbles from Gaza and the Sinai. They now involve Egyptian-Bedouin incidents, as well as threats from Islamic extremists against Israel and Hamas efforts at various degrees of intensity to restrict incidents that might produce another onslaught by the Israeli airforce.
Not all the unpleasantness comes from outside.
Israel has gun controls infinitely more rigid than the United States, but they are not foolproof. There have been a number of killings, most typically of spouses, by Israeli police personnel, or men employed as security guards whose employers have not adhered to the rules that require a deposit of weapons with the firm after each day''s work. A former military officer, policeman, and security guard, unemployed and in economic distress but still with a firearm at home, brought it to the bank branch in Beer Sheva that had rejected his loan application, killed four employees and customers, and held others hostage for several hours until killing himself.
Initial reports, while the hostage crisis was still ongoing, mentioned a terror attack, or a bank robbery, by two individuals, in some versions Bedouin from the nearby village of Rahat. Only later was it reported that a single Jew was responsible, and that it was not a robbery. The branch dealt only in loan applications and had no cash to rob.
Details of the Beer Sheva killings, the victims, killer, and their families continue to be prominent in the media days after the incident, and have produced a wave of concern that frustrated Israelis might copy American killings in schools, restaurants, and post offices. Politicians are promising to improve the enforcement of existing gun controls.
Implementation is not the strong suit of this society. It will take a while to see if improved administration stays ahead of the '' frustrations of individuals who should not have weapons at home. Or if domestic issues will surrender to the greater noise of a general war.