Israel is a land that is enveloped in fear, apprehension and bewilderment, not knowing what will be tomorrow with Iraq and Saddam Hussein. The people of Israel know that Iraq is the only country that did not surrender after the 1948 war, when Iraq and four other Arab armies invaded the newly founded Jewish state.

This is not the first time that Israel sat and waited for an attack which could take many lives indeed. Back in May 1967, after Egyptian President Nassar closed the straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping to the south, the people of Israel nervously waited three weeks awaiting any fate that would befall them, when armies on all sides of Israel again threatened the small Jewish state. At that time, a generation of concentration camp survivors wondered if Israel would again face a threat of mass annihilation. Today, the children and grandchildren of concentration camp survivors quietly ask the same question.

There is no euphoria and no desire that one can perceive in Israel towards any conflict on the horizon with Iraq. The common press perception that the people or the government of Israel want this war is simply unfounded. While the Israeli government is using the Voice of Israel Radio and Israel Public Television to calm the Israeli public with a careful and sensitive manner, with precise instructions as to where to get gas masks and how to prepare the shelters in case of a gas or chemical attack, the call in programs on the five popular Israeli radio stations are overwhelmed with anxious people – parents, children, elderly people, all with one question on their mind: What is going to be?

Ad to the apprehension from Scud Missile attacks the confirmed presence of Iraqi units of the paramilitary Palestinian forces, armed with short range mortars that can reach any spot in Israel.

All of us who are trained in any aspect of mental health (My degree is in community organization social work practice ) have been drafted for emergency service. And that emergency service is now in full swing. Children who cannot sleep. Parents who cannot cope. Older people who cannot function. And the special telephones installed at community centers for crisis counselling are ringing off the hook. I sometimes wonder if the whole country is not one great basket case.

None of this goes by without some therapeutic humor on the airwaves. In between the newscasts about the UN debate on the Bush ultimatum to Iraqi to disarm itself from its weapons of mass destruction, Israel’s most popular comic act got on the radio with a rendition of “Singing through the scuds”. And for those of us who work in the media, I cannot but remember some of the funnier moments during the previous Gulf War, when I worked as the Special CNN Radio correspondent in Israel. After more than thirty live reports on CNN radio about Scud missiles falling all over the center of Israel, I slipped and broadcast that “We are now in the midst of yet another Mud Scissile attack (instead of Scud Missile Attack). My colleagues at CNN sent me the CNN Mud Scissle award at the time.

With more than seven hundred Israelis murdered in cold blood over the past couple years, and with the prospect of a combined PLO and Iraqi attack in every part of Israel, you might say that the people of Israel are nervous, to say the least.

As I sit down to Sabbath dinner with my family, the nervousness of my wife and children shows, as it must show in every home.

My eight year old daughter Meira does not want to be left alone at night.

Neither does anybody else in Israel at this time.


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.