Tuesday, August 01, 2006

WSJ: In Israel, 'Mothers' Have Change of Heart On Hezbollah Fight

An excellent article appeared in today's Wall Street Journal. Below are some snippets from that article.

In Israel, 'Mothers'
Have Change of Heart
On Hezbollah Fight

Ex-Leader's Bellicose Stand
Signals Shift in Nation;
Ms. Anteby Skips March

August 1, 2006; Page A1

snip ><

KAKHAL, Israel -- In 1997, Zahara Anteby became so sick of Israel's lengthy occupation of Lebanon that she started campaigning full-time to end it. The 18-year military presence finally ended, in 2000, in a wrenching moment for Israel and a major victory for the popular movement Ms. Anteby helped lead.

Seven years later, Ms. Anteby finds herself living through a new Lebanon war. But she backs this one to the hilt. "This time we're fighting for our survival," she says in her home here, a village overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Any Israeli who opposes the military campaign is just a "bleeding heart," she says.

Ms. Anteby's transformation from peacenik to hawk shows how Israeli attitudes are hardening as the country's war on Hezbollah enters its third week, with no sign of the decisive victory its army promised.

snip ><

Last month, only a few hundred protesters turned up for an antiwar protest in downtown Tel Aviv. Even Peace Now, a prominent advocacy group that campaigns for peace with the Palestinians, backs this war.

One person who wasn't at the rally was Ms. Anteby. A soft-spoken 54-year-old high-school principal, she considers herself a dyed-in-the-wool leftist. "I got varicose veins from all the peace demonstrations I attended," she says. But she finds she can't oppose this war. "We were provoked," she says, "and we have no choice but to protect ourselves."

snip ><

Initially, she says, the withdrawal [from Lebanon in 2000] seemed to have worked. Like many Israelis, she had little fear of Hezbollah. She saw its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, as a freedom fighter struggling to liberate his people from foreign occupation. "For six years there was peace in Galilee," she says.

But that tenuous peace was shattered July 12 when Hezbollah militants staged a brazen cross-border raid, kidnapping two Israeli soldiers. On the same day, the militia fired rockets at northern Israel: Some of them landed near Ms. Anteby's house in Kakhal, a tranquil village in the upper Galilee, sending deer from a nearby nature reserve galloping in panic across the hillside. "I suddenly realized that Nasrallah isn't a political leader at all, but a jihadi," she says. "He was never fighting for freedom -- it was and is a war of religion."

The full article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115439360286422945.html

Note: you need to be a subscriber to the Wall Street Journal to read the full article.

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