During the 2014 Gaza war, Daniella Ashkenazy, published a series of articles about life in Israel during the war. The following is an article from this series. It appeared in the CHELM-ON-THE-MED website. It is republished here as a courtesy of the author.
a mixed bag of piquant
“BACKPAGE NEWS FROM THE FRONT”
GLEANED FROM THE HEBREW MEDIA
July 11, 2014 – July 17, 2014
Keep your Spirits Up and Your Head Down!
by Daniella Ashkenazy
THE SECRET OF ISRAEL’S SUCCESS
On Friday July 11th when Major General Yoav (Poli) Mordechai was interviewed at length on al Jajeera television in Arabic (a genuine ‘first’) and asked why the ‘body counts’ were so lopsided – no Israeli fatalities at the time compared to one hundred Palestinians, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories opened his lengthy reply* in fluent Arabic saying, apparently without any intention to be ironic: “First of all, alchamdul’ilah (‘praise to Allah’) we have Iron Dome, and a strong army.”
* which the moderator didn’t interrupt
FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS
Magen David Adom (Israel’s ‘Red Cross’) announced it was changing the ambulance sirens signaling motorists to clear the way.
Why? The rising-and-falling sirens on ambulances carrying injured persons from road accident and heart attack victims and the like to the hospital are jangling the nerves of tone deaf citizens who can’t differentiate between the ambulance sirens and the siren warning of a rocket salvo.
The new siren comes with all the bells and whistles…well, at least the bells, similar to the jingle-jangle that heralds the arrival of Israeli ice cream trucks – only louder… http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4541774,00.html (Yediot, Israel HaYom, Mada)
TWO STRIKES YOU’RE OUT
Some legalists warn international law forbids Israel from cutting the juice to Gaza even through Hamas has refused to pay the Strip’s electricity bill for years*…not even when Palestinians launch dozens of rockets daily against Israeli civilian.
When a Palestinian rocket ‘took out’ one of ten major power lines feeding Israeli electricity to Gaza leaving 70,000 Gazans without power, it seemed fate had finally intervened, or after a thousand rockets the laws of probabilities had kicked in.
While initially linemen said they really shouldn’t be expected to risk their lives to restore power while Gaza lobbed mortars and rockets at them, incredulously, by the next morning linemen had nevertheless repaired the damage wearing helmets and ceramic flack jackets to protect themselves from falling fragments from Palestinian rockets!
After Hamas rejected the Egyptian call for a cease-fire, a second high voltage line to Gaza came tumbling down. This time the IEC isn’t fixing the damage ‘til peace is restored. (Israel HaYom)
* see who received Gaza’s bills instead – HERE.
A LOT TO ANSWER FOR?
All the Israeli media spoke of the plight of 12th grade seniors in the south who were forced to cram for and take their math matriculation exam – a stressor under any circumstances – with mortars and rockets flying.
The principal of an Ashdod high school figured with everyone at least mildly distracted (the exam in Ashkelon was actually interrupted by a salvo of rockets), he could stealthily help his daughter pass the exam with flying colors. The educator (who also happens to be a math teacher) quickly filled in all the answers on a spare exam in the school safe, then deftly switched answer sheets, slipping his own answers to his daughter…without anyone noticing.
Or so he thought…
* Strangely enough, the principal’s daughter was only a 10th grader and had plenty of time to take the exam again. And again. And again.
GAZA’S THUGOCRACY AT WORK
Unidentified persons blasted a hole in the front door to a Gaza bank – orchestrated so that a nighttime Israeli air strike on a Hamas military target would muffle the sound. The bank robbers then walked in, helped themselves to the ‘merchandise’ and walked out without anyone taking notice.
Elsewhere, some masked and armed ‘public servants’ on Hamas’ payroll threatened at gunpoint rank-and-file Gazans withdrawing cash from ATMs, saying ‘if they didn’t receive their salaries to buy food, nobody else in Gaza would eat.’
Is no news good news?
Nation-wide television ratings show the World Cup Championship placed second in popularity to non-stop news programs…except for viewers in Or Haner in the Western Negev, a kibbutz founded by Argentinean Jews, and neighboring rival Bror Hayil founded by Brazilian Jews who, war or no war, crammed into bomb shelters* and remained glued to the tube throughout the world soccer championship – the Mondial. While Germany beat Argentina in the finals 1-0, fans in Bror Hayil took a double beating – watching in dismay as Brazil got creamed by Germany 7-1 in the playoffs, just before the Palestinians began to try and turn them into pulp.*
* instead of the open-air broadcast on the lawn as they planned
ANYONE FOR KABAB?
Despite an inescapable love of grilled meat and though it never rains in the summer in Israel, many Israelis have taken a ‘rain-check’ on picnics. The spoiler is the prospect of the picnic being ‘rained out’* by falling shrapnel.* But trust the inventive Israeli:
A patriotic importer from a firm called Electrogal took out a full-page ad in Israel HaYom to offer his fellow countrymen a smokeless charcoal-brick grill under the heading “From today, it’s possible to ‘charcoal grill’ even inside your home!”
* I have a rounded chunk of an Iron Dome missile from 2012 about the size of an 11 kilogram (24,2 lb) wheel of Vermeer cheese, serving as a bookend in my office, along with three twisted pieces of a Grad rocket.
RIGHT ON TARGET…
Tel-Aviv residents, in typical fashion, turned their sharp sense of humor into a weapon. Out of all the humorous material flying about the Internet, the best is the plum coined by HaPitzutzia that spotted a golden opportunity to target the outrageous cost of parking in the Big Orange’s municipal parking garages, posting a spoof announcement from City Hall:
|The Tel-Aviv Municipality has opened the city’s bomb shelters for the welfare of Tel-Aviv residents:First hour – 20 NISEvery additional 15 Minutes – 7 NIS.|
The best graffiti? A ‘slight adjustment’ on Tel-Aviv’s signature logo below. (Globes and Hapitzutzia)
[Til is a rocket in Hebrew – G.S.]
Israelis don’t flee when rockets start flying. They cling together to weather the storm, canceling and cutting-short their vacations abroad.
The result is not only registered in the way the national airline El-Al accommodates, time-and-again allowing everyone with a ticket to cancel their flights and reschedule with no penalty fee – including Israelis vacationing abroad who want to go home as fast as possible.
Delta offers the same – through August 15; El-Al says the offer is good for six months, begging the question: Do El-Al pilots, almost all of them reserve officers in the IDF, know something we don’t know about the length of this ‘round’???
Are there good tidings, too? Definitely! The rates of vacation packages at overpriced Israeli hotels – the subject of a scathing article days before things escalated into a full-blown war – plummeted by 30 percent. (Israel HaYom)
To read more articles in this series, visit CHELM-ON-THE-MED Special Reports