Over Yom Haatzmaut, Independence Day, I spent time talking to people in a number of social events. Here are some of the things I heard:
A friend who runs a company that produces high-class tools for the creation of other tools ("our equipment is the Rolls-Royce of the field: expensive but the best") told me they've been selling to unfriendly countries such as Indonesia, and in recent weeks they've been approached by a potential client in Pakistan. A second friend who was standing with us told of other Israeli companies who sell to the Arab world, mostly via Jordan and often in Jordanian packaging to hide the Israeli provenance. Someone ought to tell the boycott folks.
A North-American journalist who has been reporting on the MidEast for a generation tells me the lack of a peace process enables all sides to live in practical peace; once negotiations start again they'll have to re-start the violence.
A Canadian who lives in Israel these past 30 years remarks, apropos Obama's plans to regulate American banks: Canada has strict bank regulations and sailed through the recent turmoil mostly unharmed. Israel has strict bank regulations, and sailed through likewise unscathed. America has light bank regulations, and look where they are.
The cutting edge in military technology is robots: drones, jeeps, and science fiction spy tools all operated from afar by highly trained soldiers who can't be harmed by the battlefield conditions. Israel is in the forefront of this technology, alongside the US.
Three if not four people separately remarked on the 20th of April as Hitler's birthday. Two of them are children of Holocaust survivors, so that's where that complex comes from; one came from Russia, and one was a thirty-something from North Africa. Jews are a screwed up bunch.
Volcanoes make humans look very small. Everyone agreed on that one.