Why TIME Magazine’s Karl Vick Doesn’t Care about Details
Why Israelis Shouldn’t Care About Karl Vick

There they are, the villainous Israelis sucking back ‘nargilum’ (a flavoured smoke) on a Tel Aviv beach, detached from the plight of the Palestinians and letting the world go to hell while they soak in the rays.  While Middle East Peace is a crucial issue to the rest of the world, these hoodlums could care less so long as they can make money and laze on the beach.

This is the life of an Israeli as portrayed in Karl Vick’s Sept 13, 2010 Time Magazine article:

“Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace”
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2015602,00.html

Vick has spun this distasteful tale using three main threads, a picture of beach bums, the testimony of two real estate agents, and a poll of critical issues.

Two Israeli real estate agents, Heli and Eli, it would seem, are sufficient witnesses to the moral state of a nation.  They claim proudly that even while the bombs were falling in Ashdod, real estate was still moving.  Eli claims Israelis are indifferent:

"They don’t care if there’s going to be war. They don’t care if there’s going to be peace. They don’t care. They live in the day."

In 1977 the Voyager Probe, launched by NASA, carried a ‘Golden Record’ containing images and sounds of the Earth.  Great deliberations went into the contents of this record to make sure that all races and peoples were equally represented.  Karl Vick would likely be quite surprised to learn that while composers from Beethoven to Chuck Berry are included, there are no real estate agents mentioned. 

If that was too delicate allow me to be blunt.  If God lived on Earth, a real estate agent would sell him a house with a leaky basement marketing it as “… with luxurious indoor swimming”.

Now on to Vick’s damming picture of beach bums.  If a picture is worth 1000 words then the scenery beyond the picture is worth a book; in this case the book is a tragedy.  Those ‘gluttonous’ beach bums are around 18 years old and likely on their way shortly to the army.  Israel has mandatory military service between high school and university for 3 years for males and females alike.  What Vick portrays as “Spring Break in the Middle East” is in fact a last dance before a tour of duty.  I’d say that deserves a toke or two.

Finally let’s deal with Vick’s appeal to statistics and polls.  Vick cites an Israeli poll asking participants to name the most urgent problem facing Israel.  Vick notes that

“just 8% of Israeli Jews cited the conflict with Palestinians, putting it fifth behind education, crime, national security and poverty.”

He the draws the conclusion that:

“…among Jews here, the issue that President Obama calls "critical for the world" just doesn’t seem — critical.”

First, ‘National Security’ likely subsumes the Palestinian conflict for many Israelis.  Next, Turnabout is fair play so let’s use the same logic on a recent US Poll.
When asked “what is the most important problem facing America?” Americans volunteered:
The Economy 49%
Health Care 8%  (Israelis cite the Palestinian conflict as their 8% issue)
Budget Deficit 4%
Wars: Afghanistan and Iraq 4%
Big Government 2%
Immigration 1%

(Apr 27, 2010: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20003551-503544.html)

So applying Vick’s logic symmetrically to this poll, it would seem Americans are callous war mongers who care about their own jobs and health well above the wars they’re actively involved in which have killed hundreds of thousands. 

I don’t support this conclusion, nor likely would Vick.  My point is that Vick uses polls, “as a drunken man uses lamp posts… for support rather than illumination”.  Israelis, by Vicks own admission, cite peace at 8% in their poll which carries equal weight to Health Care for Americans; Americans are anything but indifferent to Health Care.

I take exception with Vick’s swift and cobbled inference that Israelis are indifferent to peace.    Further I refuse to believe that a country with compulsory military service could possibly be indifferent to Foreign Relations.  Vick’s journalism is charlatanic at best.  In the nadir of the printed press, one would think attention to detail and quality would be paramount.  Perhaps Time Magazine need not ask why they are in their eleventh hour?

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Appendix:

The TIME Magazine Cover:

TimeIsrael

The daisies are likely an allusion to the popular inspirational poem: “I’d Pick More Daisies” which is a poem extolling the virtue of living a carefree – ‘in the moment’ lifestyle.

Text of “I’d Pick More Daisies”: http://www.unshod.org/ebbfhike/brj01.htm