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In order to describe the situation in Israel as it enters its 60th year we need a number of Greek words: dichotomy, schizophrenia, paranoia. From reading the newspapers, listening to the radio and watching television, I understand that everything here is falling apart, that Israel is the failure of the Zionist vision, that our government is corrupt, the army is rusty, the education system is in shambles and our health system is ill.
But when I go out into the street I encounter an entirely different country. I see that people are well-dressed, children are chattering away on their mobile phones, homes are being renovated. I see new cars, half the population traveling on holidays, some to the north and others to the more distant north. I see that the caf s are filled to overflowing, the nightclubs are humming, art is flourishing, the beach is teaming.
Life is good here.
YES, I know. I am talking about satiated Tel Aviv and I don't see the unemployment in the development towns and the poverty in Bnei Brak, and the ministers under investigation, and the Holocaust survivors without medicine and the strikes in the education system and the neglect in the Arab sector and the rampant bureaucracy. And of course - the Palestinian problem.
But I do see all of it. And it is all true and quite sad. A lot of things need to be changed, fixed, overhauled. But just the same: Life is good here.
There is a huge gap between the State of Israel as it is reflected in the media and the State of Israel in reality. The media's job is to criticize; that is how they serve the public. At the same time, they create an atmosphere of
dejection and despondency, and in doing so they do not reflect a true picture of reality.
Even if the state suffers to one extent or another from the maladies that every country in the world is afflicted with, the quality of life here is getting better from one year to the next, and the standard of living is improving. Looking back, it is clear that Israel today far exceeds the expectations and hopes of those who established it.
True, we don't have the same ideals as we once did, and ideology, idealization and idols are no more.
But life expectancy has increased by six years (health); 97 percent of the population can read and write (education); more than half of Israeli households own a car (economy); and 99 percent of Israeli kitchens have a refrigerator (welfare).
YES, OF COURSE things are far from perfect. But to present the state as an attempt that has failed and its population as tormented masses is not only an exaggeration or defamation, it is an outright lie. Life is good here.
I do not claim, as did philosopher Gottfried Leibniz, that this is "the best of all possible worlds." But I do reject the claim that because of a few suspect politicians Israel is a corrupt, miserable state, a bad joke. The media are right when they expose wrongs, but they miss the point when they shoot at everything and everyone that moves.
I believe that under the current circumstances, the world we have created is not bad at all.
And yes, life is good here.
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