Y-Net, probably Israel's most popular website, has been running a competition for Best Snapshot of the Year, to be chosen for Independence Day (Tuesday evening). The ten finalists are up, here. They're fascinating, mostly for the way they're generally lacking in ideology and pathos (but not completely), none of them are esthetically pleasing, none are memorable, and taken together they indeed do give a pedestrian feeling of where we're at right now.
Quick annotations, from top left clockwise, for the Hebraically-challenged of you:
5 guys in their mid-50s who have been chums since they were in the paratroopers together, 35 years ago, arguing over a map while hiking in the desert.
Soldiers on a tour of Poland, dancing in an abandoned warehouse that used to be the synagogue in a small Polish town, and still has Hebrew on the walls. (OK, some pathos in this one).
A pier that no longer reaches the Sea of Galilee, which is drying up for lack of rain.
"We're all stuck in the mud" (in this case, at the Dead Sea).
A torn flag with the orange ribbon of the opponents of the disengagement from Gaza (2005). (OK, some political ideology in this one).
A fellow dressed (only?) in the flag shouting at the camera. The shouting is about as typically Israeli a gesture as any.
A group of folks standing under a "Save Gilad Shalit" poster, probably in Tel Aviv.
A play on the national colors (light blue and white): "No parking (in white); ... in the whole fucking city" (scrawled graffiti).
Two chaps, walking for their health, boiling their brains. Israelis are joined to their mobile phones at birth, never to be separated again.
The ice cream vendors always know which units will be having maneuvers when and where. I expect the central IDF planners ask them for plans each quarter. The pizza delivery folks, too.