Bursting the Facebook bubble boy


The last thing I wanted to become was “that crazy right-winger on Facebook”. Granted, I am probably looked at as "that crazy right-winger” in real life by some, but come on, this isn’t something as trivial as reality, this is facebook we''re talking about here!


However, my resolve can only be tested so much. Thus, after a Facebook friend proceeded to post, what I felt, were a number of misleading and lopsided political statements, my fingers attacked my keyboard faster than you could say “timeline sucks”.


I hesitated before hitting the “post” button, but decided to proceed because I knew that an alarmingly large number of people my age get their information solely from John Stewart and their Facebook newsfeed. While this saddens me, it is a reality of my lifetime and I felt I had to do my part to present an alternative voice.
After a somewhat spirited political debate (as far as spirited political debates go on social networking sites) the argument ended as expected: a respectful agreement to disagree. But not before another former acquaintance chimed in with the oh-so poignant and nuanced political argument: “you live in a bubble."
In response to him, I compared my upbringing to his, noting how similar they were, up until university that is, when I moved to Israel and he went to a well-respected American institution. He majored in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies while I studied Political Science and Military Strategy while being physically in the Middle East, so again we were not all that different. I mentioned that my being in Israel, where global events effect every citizen’s life on a very real level on a daily basis perhaps suggests that I live in less of a bubble than he does, but at the very least, we share an almost identical trajectory, thus how is it that I live in a bubble whereas he does not?
No response.
Luckily, I was able to eventually move on with my life and not sit by the computer these past two months waiting for the witty retort that would put me in my place. It helps that I have a number of weddings upcoming, and subsequent bachelor parties to help plan. One of the many ideas discussed for these aforementioned stags was taking a trip to Eilat.
Then I woke up to this headline: “IDF bracing for increased rocket fire from Sinai” and then, one day later, the inevitable “One Israeli killed”. The former article explained that due to the recent surge in election success for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt the IDF was beginning to set up rocket-defense system launch sites near Eilat due to the “possibility that there will be a further escalation from the Sinai.” The latter proved it had begun.
“Perhaps Eilat plans should be put on hold,” I thought to myself.
As I read that headline it hit me: those of us who live in Israel do not live in bubbles, we live in Iron Domes. We live in Iron Domes because we have to. We would love to live in the open air, but with a constant threat of annihilation just around the corner, it is a liberty we know we must sacrifice.
Any chance of me living in a bubble popped (pun intended) the moment I moved to a country that the Arab world insists is unacceptable because it is a Jewish state, a refrain heard more than a Black Eyed Peas song.
If you live in America, the existential threat of your nation’s complete eradication is no more realistic than Adam Sandler’s new flick “That’s My Boy” taking home Best Picture at the Oscars this year. If you live in Israel, that fear of uncertain existence is as palpable as the humidity in Tel Aviv on a summer day, that is to say that if you refuse to prepare for it, it may very well suffocate you with its presence.
Living in Israel has matured me in ways no other experience ever could. So while I am still somewhat annoyed by the absurd and immature allegation, I do owe a tiny modicum of thanks to the Facebook bubble boy for helping me to realize yet another great thing this country has given me.
So to the bubble boy I say: I am not the insulated and close-minded “crazy right-winger” I am sure you assume me to be. I am a living breathing member of Israeli society who has learned to never take anything, even something as precarious as a bachelor party plan, for granted because every day of very real life in this country where we are safe and sound is a true blessing. I am so sorry to burst your bubble.
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