Today in Tablet Magazine, Yoav Fromer criticizes the protests that have swept Israel, arguing that they in fact are enacting much more selfish motives that canvass over the deep fissures that actually do afflict Israeli society.
Much like Douglas Coupland’s Generation X—the materially driven American generation that matured in waning stages of the Cold War and in the shadow of the Baby Boomers and the Greatest Generation—the current cohort of 20- and 30-year-old Israelis appears to be suffering from a similar sense of historical banality. Unlike their grandparents, whose selfless devotion to a greater good helped found the Jewish State, and their parents, who were responsible for defending it in large-scale wars, young Israelis today feel more like the prodigal son, who has selfishly squandered his inheritance. Born after the 1973 War, young Israelis have been liberated from the existential phobias of their parents and accordingly are primarily focused on themselves. In Tel Aviv, an astronomical 34.8 percent of Israeli youth do not serve in the IDF. For the majority who still join, a military service that included two morally ambiguous wars, in Lebanon and the West Bank (each of which lacked a national consensus backing it), did more to burden their conscience than to replenish their pride. If in the past Israelis could always derive a sense of self-fulfillment by serving the state, the younger generation was left to serve itself.