Lebanon, Hezbollah, War, Israel

Opinion: Why Israelis are not panic buying even as the winds of war blow harder

It's a delicate balance we strike - acknowledging the potential danger while refusing to let it paralyze our daily lives.

Illustrative: Empty Shelves (Photo: Shutterstock/ FiledIMAGE)

As tensions rise between Israel and Lebanon, one might expect to see panicked citizens clearing supermarket shelves of bottled water and canned goods. Yet, a stroll through Tel Aviv or Jerusalem reveals a surprisingly calm populace going about their daily lives. This begs the question: Are Israelis remarkably resilient, or are we simply in denial?

Having lived through numerous conflicts, Israelis have developed a unique approach to impending crises. Our seeming nonchalance in the face of potential war stems from a complex mix of factors.

Firstly, there's the unfortunate reality that conflict has become a part of life here. Many Israelis have experienced multiple wars and military operations. This repeated exposure has bred a certain stoicism—a "been there, done that" attitude that can be mistaken for indifference.

Secondly, our faith in the country's emergency preparedness plays a significant role. Israel has invested heavily in civil defense infrastructure, including bomb shelters and the Iron Dome missile defense system. This sense of security, whether justified or not, contributes to a collective calm.

There's also a cultural aspect at play. Israelis pride themselves on their ability to maintain normalcy in abnormal situations. The phrase "life goes on" isn't just a platitude here—it's a national ethos. Panic buying and visible anxiety are often seen as signs of weakness or lack of faith in the country's resilience.

Moreover, our experience has taught us that stocking up on supplies isn't always necessary. In past conflicts, supply chains have remained largely intact, and shortages have been rare. This history reduces the perceived need for extensive personal preparations.

However, this calm exterior doesn't necessarily reflect inner peace. Many Israelis are indeed concerned about the possibility of war but choose to internalize their worries rather than display them publicly. It's a coping mechanism that allows us to function in a perpetual state of uncertainty.

There's also an argument to be made that this apparent calm is, in fact, a form of denial. By not acknowledging the gravity of the situation through visible preparations, we may be subconsciously trying to ward off the reality of impending conflict.

Whether this approach will serve us well in the face of potential conflict remains to be seen, but for now, life in Israel continues as usual—a testament to our resilience, or perhaps our shared denial of the storm clouds gathering on the horizon.

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