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

a mixed bag of piquant



July 18, 2014 – July 24, 2014


Keep your Spirits Up and Your Head Down!




Last weekend’s papers were filled with articles by anguished columnists with small kids who find themselves wordless when the little ones ask them ‘who is shooting rockets at me and why.’

            Coming to the rescue without beating around the bush, animator Amitai Angur created Tili* - a talking Iron Dome missile who in a charming video clip on YouTube explains the conflict in 1 minute 41 seconds flat and instantly calms the anxieties of little tykes…whom rumor has it have, give or take a little, the attention span of a goldfish.* 

            Click on the hyperlink, there are English subtitles. (Harfana Online)

 *  til is Hebrew for missile

** The average American attention span in 2013 was about 8 seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. The average attention of a goldfish is 9 seconds."



Familiar with the old Yiddish proverb that ‘you can’t have your tuchis* in two places at one time’? Maybe it is just as well that so many rock concerts by international vocalists such as Neil Young and the Backstreet Boys scheduled to be held in open-air amphitheatres have been cancelled due to the war. 

            With thousands and thousands of soldiers sitting on the border with Gaza in a day and age when ‘environmental concerns’ have become a hot topic, the Ministry of Defense has rented-out nearly all the porta potties in the whole blooming country including some whopping 18-seaters that run 1,750 ($514) a day** (plus a 10 to 20 percent surcharge for placing them in a war zone). (Yediot)

 * Yiddish for your butt

** There’s a deep discount waiting if the IDF is in for the long haul. The rental fee drops to 2,650 NIS for an entire month, if chemical toilets don’t have to be schlepped around from place-to-place.



            Detractors like to frame Israel as a ’militarized society’ when in fact it has a ‘civilianized military’… Need proof?  

             Before Second-Lieutenant Dor Nissan went into battle, his mom 54-year old Shira Nissan drove from Beersheva to the staging area where her son’s unit had deployed on the edge of Gaza to give him a hug…and went about helping Dor tuck in his shirttails in full view of the men under his command. 

            “I haven’t seen him in two week. I had to come to hug him and to kiss him, to feel him in the flesh,” she explained. 

            Was the IDF combat officer embarrassed?  Not at all.

            “It was really terrific to meet mom, to hug her and receive a hug back before we ‘go in.’ She brought with her ‘the smell of home’.” he replied frankly.  (Yediot)



Who has more humanity - Hamas leaders who order Gazans to serve as a ‘human shield’ for their troops and fired mortars at an Israeli field hospital set up to treat Palestinians, or the elephants at the Ramat Gan safari who when sirens go off, huddle to create a protective wall of flesh to shield their young waiting for the thuds of rockets to end. (Ramat Gan Safari)



Fed-up with taking cover when sirens go off, a small group of some 70 young adults from Sderot set up folding chairs and even an old stuffed couch on a  vantage point overlooking Gaza on the edge of town – and sat down to spend their nights ‘watching the fireworks’ now that the shoe is on the other foot.

            The foreign media have had a field day with this in-your-face audience eating watermelon and cracking pumpkin seeds, cheering every time the sky lights up over Gaza as an Israeli guided missile homes in on its target.  An appalled British reporter Diana Magnay labeled the townies ‘scum’ in a tweet, but after nine years on the receiving end of 10,000 Qassam rockets* and mortars that robbed them of a normal childhood, killing nine residents of the small town - including three preschoolers, the group is in no mood to apologize for their behavior.

            No doubt they cheered even louder when they got wind that CNN had exiled Magnay to Moscow… (Yediot Aharonot - Kan Darom, Yisrael HaYom)

 * View the video, for a taste of what growing up in Sderot was like.



During the 9 AM to 3 PM Egyptian-sponsored ‘humanitarian cease fire’ on Thursday July 17th, the IDF broke into Jihad and Hamas broadcasts to urge Gaza residents to stock up on food and medicine. Perhaps in response to this breach, Hamas decided to enhance the shopping experience of Israelis, too - urging Ashkelon shoppers to hurry up and finish their shopping, a high sign they delivered with a salvo of Grad rockets towards the city at high noon.    

            Men can have some pretty berserk ideas of what constitutes ‘quality time’: Ashkelonian Arik Ochiyun decided to relax by taking his son fishing (!) during the shaky cease-fire, but the crestfallen father was forced to cut short the father-son outing because the kid kept nervously scanning the sky, instead of mindlessly minding his fishing rod like his dad. (Israel HaYom)



Kvish 6 - the north-south toll road - has become a hairy obstacle course for any driver traversing the fairly empty highway at night traveling south. If motorists are lucky (two weren’t) they manage to slam on the brakes in time when a 120-ton tank carrier creeping along at 40-50 kilometers per hour with eeny weeny taillights suddenly looms into their field of vision on the pitch dark highway as they barrel-along at 110 kilometers-per-hour.

            Turns out that there are strings of huge blinking orange lights mounted on the front and the back of the cab…but for vehicles approaching from the rear, the lights are concealed (!) once a battle tank is loaded on the back.* (Yediot – Mamon)

 * Authorities have ordered strings of bright lights be jerry-rigged on the tail end of the tanks, hung up like Christmas ornaments.



A 23 year-old chemical biology student at BGU named Ma’or, discovered he he’s the ‘poster boy’ for Hamas propaganda, without anyone asking his consent. 

            An article in a Hamas political organ boasts his picture – highlighting the Armored Corps reservist’s unkempt shock of blond curls and two-tone goatee set off by a set of earrings running up the contours of his outer ear.*  Hamas placed him side-by-side with the face of ‘one of Hamas’ finest’ sporting a spiffy over-starched uniform and wearing a stern don’t-mess-with-me expression. Hamas jeered and boasted that from the looks of it, engaging such a scruffy-looking army would be a pushover.

            “They haven’t a clue what they’re talking about,” retorted Ma’or. So, why, for God’s sake, has he taken the Hamas article with him, folded up in his wallet? 

            Does he hope to meet ‘the other poster boy’? (Yediot)

 * Only conscripts are required to maintain military haircuts, remove piercing rings and the like to follow military dress codes, not reservists.