It is impossible to ignore the Israeli-Palestinian conflict even thousands of miles away here in our nation.
The conflict even splits some Americans against each other. It’s very easy for Americans to become embroiled in the war even without the religious aspects of being Muslim or Jewish. The conflict is everywhere, all the time, and we would be wise to observe and learn from it — not only learn how to create peace and how to avoid war, but how to live in a war.
Most Americans won’t have the experience of being shot at with a machine gun, or feeling the shockwave of artillery falling — and they should feel fortunate for that. Still, we can learn a lot from the Israelis.
Terrorism can happen anywhere at any time in Israeli, even in the “safe” zones, and citizens must constantly be aware of their surroundings. Street crime is very similar; it can happen anywhere at any time, and letting your guard down because of a perceived safe area is foolish. The overwhelming majority of Israeli citizens are veterans and have received anti-terrorism training in one form or another. They also have lived in this state of war and know that vigilance is key to survival. One must be prepared to react to a situation before it occurs.
This goes for terrorism, violent street crime, and basic lawless survival. Take note of your area, of people acting oddly, of people who do not blend in to the social setting naturally. Be suspicious of people could appear nervous or impatient.
Situational awareness goes into observing the building or area you are in. In a building one should always be aware of where the exits are and how to easily access them. One should also try to avoid areas that deprive them of their senses. I am talking about places with loud music and low lighting, often accompanied by some form of strobe lighting or bright concentrated light displays. These places are often bars and nightclubs.
In large outdoor gatherings one should have a plan to escape that will prevent them from being caught in the crowd. Having a rally point for friends and family if you get separated is critical to keeping everyone safe. Be prepared to hunker down in a safe area to avoid crowd-trampling. A person is smart, but people in a group are incredibly stupid.
Being prepared isn’t paranoid
Israelis may not consider themselves preppers, and that’s especially true of those in the contested areas where fighting is regular. They just consider it common sense to have supplies on hand in case major infrastructure goes down.
A reported 60 percent of Israelis have some form of preps, including a larger percentage owning things like gas masks for their families. Local governments even set up community disaster preparedness sessions. These often offer short-term survival tips, including prepping for disastrous situations.
In Israel, prepping is not looked down upon and it is not crazy. In Israel, having extra food and water is just smart.
Peace is achieved through strength
Right now America is an extremely soft target, even though we have border patrol and police departments who are becoming more and more militarized. We are a soft target because those who we perceive to be first responders truly aren’t. Citizens are the first responders in any crisis. Going into Israel, you are going to see guns everywhere. Israel does have strict licensing polices, but they also have a heavily armed populous.
Also, hoplophobia isn’t a real thing in Israel. A gun is a gun and nothing more to them. They do not have an unnatural and irrational fear of firearms carried by civilians. Some folks may be uncomfortable handling a weapon, but there is no active campaign for disarming civilians.
Incredibly soft targets, like Israeli schools, often have a form of armed security or armed police on the scene at all times. The children are not afraid of people carrying guns to protect them, and they aren’t traumatized by the sight of guns. In some parts of Israel, teachers even choose to carry guns.
With the mandatory military service in Israel, the majority of citizens are capable of dealing with life and death situations and capable of coming together as a community to serve side by side for the sake of their neighbors and themselves. Am I saying military service should be mandatory here in America? No, I am not, but citizens should seek some form of disaster preparedness training and mentally harden themselves to stressful situations.
Communities should pull together
It’s a fact that humans who work together are capable of achieving tasks beyond the single person. Humans are naturally drawn to companionship of other humans, but in America we are a distrustful people. Our melting pot has brought together nationalities, religions, cultures and creeds from across the world. We are often distrustful of those different from us, and the mainstream media’s constant barrage of bloody headlines does not help.
In Israel, the family and the community are extremely important. Children are raised by the nuclear family, the extended family and even the community. This early involvement in the community permits a more trusting attitude for Israeli citizens. Stronger families and stronger communities make a stronger and more prepared country.
We can learn a lot from Israel, from their culture and communities down to their national security. While they have their unique problems, and we have ours, our countries should work hand-in-hand to build not only better nations, but a better world. In the end, never stop learning, and be prepared for anything.
Do you agree that Americans can learn from Israelis? Tell us in the comments section below.