The Israeli-Iranian kiss that launched a thousand Facebook ‘likes’

Oded Yaron – Haaretz Haaretz March 25, 2012

As Roni Edry and Michal Tamir’s spontaneous Israel Loves Iran initiative continues to reverberate throughout the world, one photo posted on Facebook has caused a stir, sparking curiosity on the web.

The photo posted by Facebook user Daniel Anisfeld depicts a man and a woman kissing, while holding their passports up to the camera. The woman holds an Iranian passport, and an Israeli passport is seen in the man’s hand.

As of Thursday night, the picture has accumulated more than 5,000 “likes,” and hundreds of “shares,” from Facebook users around the world.

The photo garnered criticism as well. “When Ahmadinejad kisses an Isreaeli girl like that, and goes with her under the chuppa (a Jewish wedding canopy) in marriage, send me the picture. Until then, stop with the nonsense,” was one comment posted on Facebook.

Another poster had a similar idea: “I want a picture of (Yisrael Beteinu MK) Anastasia Michaeli kissing Ahmadinejad…then I’ll believe something is happening here…”

Many comments also noted that should the young woman return to Iran, she may face consequences. Other posters expressed doubts, claiming that the photo was digitally altered.

Anisfeld responded with a comment stating that the photo was taken at a New Year’s Eve part in New York, however did not reveal any other details regarding the couple, and has yet to reply to Haaretz inquiries.

Most of the Facebook users that saw the picture were happy to see photo of the couple kissing. “Way to go! There should be more brave people like you. I wish both sides would understand that we can solve these problems of war, and make the peace that everyone wants,” posted one user.

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Comment – March 26, 2012

The contrast between the above story and the one following is telling. Both published in the same Israeli newspaper, they reveal a nation at odds with itself. So much so indeed that one might even characterise Israel as a country in the grip of national psychosis.
While on the one hand a photo of an Israeli man kissing an Iranian woman receives overwhelming Facebook user approval as part of an Israel Loves Iran campaign, the majority of Israelis also believe the best way to deal with the perceived Iranian threat is with a military strike.

Poll: Most Jewish Israelis say Iran strike less risky than nuclear threat

Ophir Bar-Zohar – Haaretz March 26, 2012

Nearly two-thirds of Jewish Israelis believe that attacking Iran to stop its nuclear program would be less harmful to Israel than living under the shadow of an Iranian nuclear bomb, a new survey shows.

The poll, conducted by Prof. Camil Fuchs for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, showed that 65 percent of those asked agreed with the claim that the price Israel would have to pay for living with the threat of an Iranian bomb would be greater than the price it would pay for attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities. Only 26 percent disagreed with this claim, with nine percent saying they weren’t sure.

The poll questioned 505 Jewish Israelis, representing five different populations: secular, traditional, religious, ultra-Orthodox and Russian immigrants. When breaking down the response into sectors, 72 percent of the religious Zionist respondents agreed with the statement, compared to 65-66 percent of the secular and traditional respondents. Men were also more likely to support the statement than women, with 73 percent of the men questioned preferring an attack on Iran, as opposed to 56 percent of the women.

Most of those polled (60 percent) agreed that only military action could stop Iran’s nuclear program, compared to 37 percent that did not agree. In this instance, too, the religious respondents were much more decisive, as were male ones, with 70 percent of the men agreeing that military reaction was the only way, compared to 50 percent of the women who agreed.

This gender gap raises the question of whether the more moderate women’s viewpoint would be taken into account by the security cabinet, which would have to decide whether to actually attack. There are no women in that cabinet; Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat is an observer but has no vote.

Sixty-three percent of those questioned believe the Israeli home front will suffer equally whether Israel attacks Iran or the United States does, compared to 29 percent who disagreed with that statement. Sixty-four percent expressed confidence that the Israel Defense Forces could significantly damage Iran’s nuclear program, compared to 29 percent who disagreed. The religious and traditional respondents were much more supportive of the IDF than the other population groups (secular, Russians and ultra-Orthodox ).

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