The mood in Israel during the immediate aftermath of the Gaza war is markedly different from the mood in the wake of the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Things felt precarious and vulnerable then. Confidence in both the government and the military disintegrated. When Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah declared his “divine victory,” many, if not most, Israelis shuddered and thought he might be correct. This time, by contrast, I didn’t meet a single Israeli who thinks Hamas defeated the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza.At the same time, to say that the mood in Israel is different is not to say that it is optimistic:
I wouldn’t characterize the mood in Israel as optimistic. That would be a mistake. Few people I know in any Middle Eastern country feel optimistic about the future of their country or the region in general. But confidence in the Israeli government and military has been restored. While a final peace with the Arabs and Palestinians is as elusive as ever, most Israelis expect a period of relative peace and quiet now that deterrence has been established on its eastern border with the West Bank, on its northern border with Lebanon, and on its southwestern border with Gaza.The fact that trust and confidence has been restored in the IDF is of course crucial to the country. What exactly Totten means by the restoration of confidence in the government is another matter. First, I am not sure what that means--have Israelis changed their mind about Olmert? Has the way the war was conducted--including the calling of an early ceasefire--given the country confidence in Livni and Barak to the extent that they can challenge Netanyahu on the issue of security?
The implications and effect of the war on the future of both Hamas and Gaza are still unclear.
To find out the effect the war will have on the elections, one merely has to wait till February 10th.