This study presents a secondary analysis of real-time data of mobile phone usage in Israel during two recent wars – with the Lebanese Hezbollah in 2006 and with the Palestinian Hamas in Gaza in 2008/9. The data, provided by Cellcom Israel, the country’s largest mobile operator, enabled an analysis of real behavior patterns rather than relying on memories of people who may have been under stress or traumatized during the hostilities, hence unable to accurately recollect this information later on. During both wars, significant changes were noted in the way people used their mobile phones: There was a substantial decrease of calls originating from within a 10-kilometer region along the Israel-Lebanon border and mobile users also made significantly longer calls. However, the decrease in calls during the Lebanon War was more than double that of the decrease in the comparable region along the Gaza border. There was no significant change in the calling patterns of Israelis living outside the directly affected regions. These supposed differences in reaction to a crisis situation (which are congruent with previous mobile phone usage studies following suicide bombings) are analyzed, and questions regarding the validity of the myth of solidarity and bonding among Israelis are raised.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Media Technology
- Computer Networks and Communications