Here's my angle: Israelis like to be smug and feel superior to Americans. They like to pretend that Americans are automata, programmed by their own ultra-sophisticated consumerism and art of spin. All American television is taken to be basically "Hollywood" -- everything is planned, directed, targetted. The brilliant movie Wag The Dog makes the case remarkably well. But here are two veteran TV professionals, positively in tears at the thought of a verse in "God Bless America". This did not happen to Israeli TV broadcasters, and I doubt it will any time soon. Israelis are cynical, and also tragically innoculated against the shock, horror, and sorrow attendant upon terrorist acts. They would not find themselves bursting into tears over HaTikva, Israel's national anthem. It seems few people in the country could (I can't).
I think this is a symptom of Israel's fragmentary identity (i.e. the lack of a truly national identity), in stark contrast to the Americans' often-ridiculed patriotism. Phrases like "red-blooded American" or "American as apple-pie" seem, to the cynical Israeli, laughably naive and simplistic. Israelis have been living with dissonance in several huge issues, like religion and state, or the nagging necessity to realize that they're using "Israelis" to mean "Jewish Israelis", with non-Jews only being equal citizens de jure. This dissonance, I think, prevents many Israelis from being able to feel with their national anthem (which is strictly Jewish and Zionist, by the way, thereby excluding people such as me). This dissonance, I feel, eats away at the feelings of solidarity and fraternity which are the basis of a healthy society. This dissonance, these unresolved questions of identity and common, nay, national values, are challenges that Israeli are yet to overcome, and we can learn a lot from Americans, both on building a nation supporting diversity, and on banishing the all-too-common vice of racism and xenophobia, if not completely, then to remote corners of one's soul.