There’s a “witch hunt for dissenters” going on in Israel…

Letter from Tel Aviv – Hilla Dayan and PW Zuidhof

Why do Israelis support a costly ground invasion of Gaza? 

The summer in Israel was planned long in advance. Eager to go, our three small children were excited to start their Lego themed summer camp. We landed in Tel Aviv in steamy mid July, just when the current violence started. As a Dutch-Israeli family from Amsterdam that travels frequently to Israel we are used to being teased in calmer times about why, for our own sanity, we do not choose a real holiday destination instead of a conflict zone. Friends and relatives in the Netherlands are now worried. They inquire politely as to our safety and wellbeing. On facebook they see our shared images of dead and wounded children in Gaza, war horrors, anti-war demonstrations, international condemnations, outraged op-eds and petitions calling for immediate ceasefire. Pictures from home of smiling blond kids in green parks and sunny beaches are flickering in glaring contrast to the barrage of depressing feeds from our “vacation.”

Our family here knows we are appalled by the war and condemn the atrocities in Gaza but there is no point talking about it with them. As Israeli and Dutch citizens who want to see an end to the occupation our politics combined with the fact that we don’t live in Israel makes us outsiders, if not outright “traitors.” We are naïve if we don’t see that hitting Gaza hard is necessary in response to the existential threat of Hamas. The weight of the overwhelming support for the war descends upon us daily, heavy and inescapable like the 90% humidity in the air. In Kindergartens, Pilates studios, hairdressers, office building signs are posted as people collect goodies for packages to send to our soldiers in the front. Soldiers are on everyone’s mind since the first smiley profiles of dead young man appeared in the news. At night many Tel Aviv restaurants and bars are empty or closed. Summer events and music concerts are cancelled so our sister and sister-in-law doda (aunt) miki the producer has plenty of time to spoil our children. This is war.

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