Some people say you can see who your true friends are at a time of crisis. Well, I never put it to test. But strangely enough, the current situation has created some odd tests. Me getting whole hearted birthday congratulations from teenagers I have never met is just an example.
If we could run all of the fighting online – it would be great. First of all, no life casualties. Second – reading and writing is one of the best ways to manage a dialog: You get to finish a sentence. Believing in the true power of web 2.0 – the power of reason should win, since moderate tones are the ones we are generally comfortable with. While some bloggers like to annoy and provoke, even them don’t like to be annoyed or provoked. And anyone can choose what to read or what to say and how.
So here we are, 12 days into the current IDF operation in Gaza, and the online war gets warmer by the minute. Unlike in previous wars, this time the many Israeli Internet experts, ages 12 years and up, have joined in the effort to bring the Israeli message to the world and fight off the criticism.
The effort runs on various levels. Social media marketing professionals monitor media all over the world and assign comment tasks. Media experts are busy creating media files and uploading them to the various networks, such as YouTube. Kids and teens are writing blogs and taking photos to document their lives. Everyone with an email can chip in by distributing links that deliver a message, to friends, family or colleagues, spread all over the world. It’s a kind of effort Israel hasn’t experienced before, surprisingly enough. Even official Israeli entities are using social media tools, like twitter, to deliver a message and converse with the public.
While the delivery of messages and participation in discussions is legitimate and even blessed, some criminal activity is also happening online, in the name of the war. It started when Muslim hackers broke into Israeli servers, hacked Israeli web pages and “stole” Israeli domains, directing these web sites to their own pro-Palestinian pages. This is another arena of the online war, requiring the assistance of Israeli web security professionals.
Early on I have decided not to voice an opinion on a “right and wrong” on this war. I am not a judge. However when my country is under attack, and most of the community I live and work with is busy in this online war effort, it’s slightly problematic to keep ignoring messages and threads. A couple of days ago I decided to reply to one specific post. I thought this one is someone I can talk with. I developed a conversation and though we sort of “agreed on not agreeing” it was still a very civil discussion, where I remain appreciating her feelings and thoughts, and she could see the humanity of the other side too. That’s fine by me.
I also accepted a request to help translating to English blog posts, written in Hebrew by kids under missiles. Those amazing kids thought they could actually change things, affect all adults, by inviting Palestinian kids under fire to write with them. The invitation was rejected by the contact person, who shortly explained they will be risking their life if they cooperate with anything from the other side. Any thoughts of creating a bi-national group of mothers were canceled for similar reasons. I certainly wouldn’t like to put anyone at any extra risk now.
Sadly, the fighting goes on as I write these lines. I keep wishing we could keep it online. Still waiting for the fighting to be over, so I can truly celebrate my birthday.