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Operation “Protective Edge” (Tzuk Eitan) – Column I



July 7, 2014 – July 10, 2014


Keep your Spirits Up and Your Head Down!




Although the IDF is much more savvy than the past when it comes to media management, the Israeli military continues to pull names for military campaigns out of a hat…or out of a computer at random as the case may be, without considering whether the machine-generated name make sense in English or can further Israel’s narrative: Take, for example Operation “Cast Lead” (Oferet Yetzuka) which sounds heavy-handed and brutish although the name for the December 2008 operation originates in a vintage children’s Hanukah song in Hebrew about a dreidel* cast in lead…

            That’s apparently why the current confrontation is named Operation Tzuk Eitan - literally ‘mighty cliff’ (which sounds pretty ominous, to be honest).  The IDF endowed the Operation with the no-less-puzzling title in English “Protective Edge” making it sound like a campaign to launch a new Gillette™ razor. 

            What does all this mean for half-a-dozen Israeli males who bear the name Eitan Tzuk?  One Eitan Tzuk is presently in London.  Safe and sound? No, his mom is worried someone will do him harm, assuming her son orchestrated the whole thing. Another Eitan Tzuk whined that if the Operation was a fiasco he’d be branded for life.  (Israel HaYom)

 * spinning top



The dovish HaAretz daily hosted a one-day Israel Conference on Peace in downtown Tel-Aviv on…July 8th, boasting as its logo a pair of Palestinian and Israeli doves jointly holding an olive branch under the slogan “It’s time for peace.” 

            After the audience heckled and booed speaker Minister Naftali Bennett for suggesting many in the audience were terribly misled by illusions that were totally out of synch with Middle East realities, the participants were treated to a ‘reality check’ not on the program: Sirens went off as Palestinians fired Fajr rockets at Tel-Aviv, sending Conference participants scurrying to find the closest bomb shelter leaving an empty hall that said it all.*

 * In a cynical talkback under the photo, an Israeli observer quipped dryly:  HaAretz reports that ‘in the event of a real conference, a rising and falling siren will be heard.”




For more on the lighter side of how Israelis cope in wartime situations, see Chelm’s Special Reports on the 2012 “Pillar of Defense”  2008 “Cast Lead” and 2002 “Defensive Shield” Campaigns

CLICK HERE “Backpage News from the Front” CLICK HERE





Under prevailing circumstances, should couples engage in sex?

            While studies show that normal libidos plummet along with the rockets, with 90 seconds flat to throw something on, grab the kids and head for the stairwell for an impromptu ‘block party’ with the neighbors – a newspaper advice column suggested that Tel-Avivians who pride themselves as ‘the city that never stops,’ would do well to ‘save the sex’ and stick to hugs for the duration.

 * Ir l’lo hafsaka, in Hebrew



Yafa Solomon recalled her experiences in the 2008 Cast Lead campaign on the Five O’clock Roundup with Rafi Reshef.* When her house in Ashkelon took a direct hit, the occupants’ first reaction was to burst out laughing, and not just from relief.

            One of her seven children, she related, had a dream the night before that a rocket would fall in their laps, so his father took his son to the Western Wall early the next morning. Were his prayers answered? Yes if you accept that the Almighty has an absurdly ironic sense of humor: The minute the Solomons returned from Jerusalem, their house was demolished, but they came out unscathed.

            So this time, declaring “rockets don’t fall in the same place twice,” Yafa Solomon hung a sign outside her house inviting perfect strangers caught on the sidewalk, to walk right in. The front door would be unlatched.

            And who were the first two strangers to take up the invitation?

            Two Arab laborers. (Channel 10)

 * a topical chat and TV news program hosted by a prominent journalist.



According to a Palestinian joke going around, “after Hamas fired a Fajr rocket from Gaza that landed on the outskirts of Ramallah on the West Bank, Mohammed Abbas asked Israel for an Iron Dome battery.” (Channel 10 News)



A family from kibbutz Nachal Oz adjacent to the Gaza Strip decided to take a time-out by going to stay in kibbutz Ma’agan Michael near Hadera for a few days, only to find that all they had gained was the difference between a minus 15 seconds mad dash and a 90 seconds sprint to take cover –  all things considered, the equivalent of a walk in the park. 



Surgical strikes against Gaza – targeting military bases and rocket launchers, operatives on the move, and homes of terrorist leaders (after warning occupants by telephone that they have five minutes to vacate the building) – minimize collateral damage to life and limb of non-combatants in Gaza, forcing Palestinians to ‘borrow” horrific footage of ISIS barbarism from Syria and try to peddle them to the BBC as Israeli war crimes – giving a unique twist to the Hebrew idiom “to barbar** on someone else’s beard. (l’hitgale’ach al z’kano shel acher).” (Israel HaYom)

 *   The BBC failed to swallow the bait

** ‘To barber on someone else’s beard’ means ‘to gain experience at someone else’s expense’