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

a mixed bag of piquant



August 22, 2014 – August 28, 2014


Keep your Spirits Up and Your Head Down!



NOTE TO READERS:  Hopefully this will be the last weekly column of Backpage News from the Front, and we can go back to our regular twice-a-month Chelm-on-the-Med Online columns that report the wildest and wackiest news stories hidden in the Hebrew media that have nothing to do with the Gaza War. Sign up on the left to receive notification when new columns are posted!




            Is the war over…for the meantime? 

            Let’s assume so.

            Forget about how many people can squeeze into a VW or a public phone booth. (The answer is 14.) During one alert of incoming rockets during the 50-day Gaza War, 23 dock workers in Ashdod Port piled into a 9-square-meter (2x3 meter) reinforced concrete migunit module (‘safe zone’) that had been trucked in and set down on the pier for their safety. 

            Do you think Israel can submit this record as a new category of the Guinness Book of World Records? (Yediot – Mamon)



The first week of the war, a small group of Left-wingers protesting Israel’s ground offensive who had gathered near Habima Square in the heart of Tel-Aivv waving signs declaring “Jews and Arabs Refuse to be Enemies” ran into a snag when the wail of the sirens heralding another barrage of Palestinian rockets from Gaza coming their way sent the demonstrators scurrying to take cover.

            A second demonstration with the same message a week later was cut short by police after Hamas broke a humanitarian cease-fire to again begin lobbing rockets at Israel.
            By the end of the fourth week of the war the far-Left was left with one hundred protesters in front of the small plaza at the entrance to the Tel Aviv Cinematique - charging they were being muzzled by…their fellow Israelis. (Israel HaYom)



In wartime even Israel’s criminals stick close to home (or figured this was not the ideal time to break into a darkened house since few people were going out): The overall crime rate dropped by 10 percent and crimes against property - primarily burglaries and car thefts - dropped by 20 percent. But even petty criminals who continued to go to work just like the Home Front Command urged everyone to do have a patriotic side…more or less.

            A crook who specialized in motorcycle theft who was in the habit of calling the owners and offering to return their bikes for a flat fee offered an IDF reservist a special deal when he heard the bike owner had received an emergency call-up (tzav 8) and was already on active duty. “I’ll give you a discount,” said the thief: Two thousand NIS - instead of the regular 4,000 NIS ‘retrieval fee.’

            Detectives set up a meeting, and collared the nervy no-goodnik red handed and gave him the heave-ho, right to the clinker.  

             And the bike?  Police are still looking for the bike. 



The Guardian of London ‘declined’* to print a full-page ad by Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz that among other things refutes one of the most cherished fallacies about Gaza – the claim it is the most densely populated place on earth…which the Guardian had hinted, is why Hamas was ‘forced’ to fire rockets from residential neighborhoods…


* In a guarded explanation, the paper said it “reserves the right to reject any advertisement



‘Now you see them - now you don’t’ pulling-rabbits-out-of-a-hat is not just for magicians.

            A new GAMACH* advertised in a Bnei Brak newspaper offers Jews in need a unique free service: Borrowing a rabbit to delight the kids at a birthday party…or as a family pet (there is no time limit on the arrangement). The mitzvah comes with a cage and food, not just the rabbit. Call 08-9283589 if you’re interested. (Ynet TV)


* Short for g’milat chasidim (acts of charity), free services for their mitzvah (good deed) value, which range from no-cost bridal gowns on loan, to modest private initiatives such as a box of brand-new pacifiers set next to the front door for desperate parents who find their kid’s pacifier has disappeared or been chewed up by the dog at 2 AM.     



A new campaign to unmask Hamas has been launched in the social media – working at the visceral level.

            Following the grisly video clip of the beheading of American journalist James Foley by ISIS, individual posters of western cultural icons - America (the Statue of Liberty), France (the Mona Lisa), Italy (Michelangelo’s statue of David) and Great Britain (A Guard at Buckingham Palace) - with their heads cut off, declares: “MIDDLE EAST NOW New York (or Paris or London or Rome) NEXT! Islamic State and Hamas* are a threat to all of us.”


* Where’s the parallel, you say? How about a street execution of 18 Palestinians on trumped up charges of ‘collaborating with Israel’ – now twenty-five and still counting. Of course there is a difference: Black-clad masked Hamas executioners only shot their victims in the head multiple times from point-blank range, gagged, with sacks over their heads. 


Answering a complaint from a new mom whose iPad ‘disappeared’ from the maternity ward of Rambam Hospital in the middle of the war, security officer Igor Fredkin set about locating the wayward device, but he didn’t need Apple’s GPS app at all. 

            When he asked for the victim’s iPhone, Fredkin noticed the owner’s Instagram app was open. ‘Gorgeous baby,’ he complimented out of courtesy, waving the phone before her nose for emphasis.

            “That’s not my baby,” she retorted, somewhat dismayed.

            Turns out the shot of the unfamiliar newborn taken with her missing iPad had automatically been logged in the true owner’s Instagram account. 

            Almost as easy as taking candy from a baby, Fredkin had no trouble zooming in on the high-resolution photo and jotting down the name on the newborn’s identification bracelet to collar the culprit -  another recent delivery with an insatiable appetite although she was no longer pregnant – found just down the hall. (Yediot)




A rattled woman from moshav Zar’it on the northern border doesn’t think her house is haunted when she hears strange noises at night and her whole house shakes.

            Shula Asiyag said about the same time things began repeatedly fall off the shelves in the middle of the night two years ago, hot houses popped up a mere 150 meters from her window…on the other side of the border in Hezbollah-controlled southern Lebanon.

            The Technion investigated. 

            The army investigated.

            The tremors have continued.

            Will lessons from Gaza set off genuine alarm bells?

            They ought to. (103 FM radio, Ben Caspit “5 PM”)


Is the Z* word dead? Seems not.

            Europe is awash in antisemitism from broken Jewish storefronts in Paris to swastikas painted on Jewish stops in Rome.

            How do Israelis view the situation? 

            Compared to 59 percent of Israeli Jews who shrugged at the prospect of threats to take Israel to the International Criminal Court for defending its citizens during the Gaza War, a public opinion poll taken by Israel HaYom  found 82 percent of the Jewish public expressed ‘concern’ in the face of anti-Semitism in Europe.

            Sixty percent of the respondents thought European Jews should go see their nearest shaliach.** (Yisrael HaYom)


*  Zionism

 ** an official Israeli emissary abroad who handle requests to make aliyah or immigrate to Israel.  The question, as worded, was “In the wake of anti-Semitic incidents in the world, should the Jews of Europe (a) make aliyah (60%) (b) not make aliyah (16%) (c) don’t know (24%)…this when 89 percent thought Israel could easily look forward to another ‘round.’