Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July 29

Tuesday

Tel Aviv

Day 13 of the war

Yesterday's re-escalation gave early grim results. A rocket killed 4 soldiers. Another died in Gaza. And a tunnel infiltration allowed an RPG - this is a war - to be shot from kibbutz Nachal Oz - a farm community that has these day to be guarded by soldiers. The RPG hit its aim, the guard station and 5 soldiers died. The terrorists didn't make it into the kibbutz, and a terrorist was killed trying to steal a dead soldier's body, to use for psychological warfare against his parents, or if were really lucky, for ransom. Absorb that for a minute. 

I keep hearing the Givati unit is not inside Gaza, but this update always covers every sub-group but Eric's. He is apparently busting tunnels, important work as we saw yesterday. Each one is a death tube. One soldier died in Gaza yesterday. But 9 more soldiers died outside Gaza. 4 died on an Israeli road. 5 guarding an Israeli kibbutz. 10 soldiers in all yesterday, every one a hole in a Jewish mother's heart. We pray the rest stay focused. And safe. 

Where is the world? All around. And all over the place. Good things to read: Thomas Friedman, who started writing about the Middle East years ago as a naïf, has figured it out. Read his last pearl: Order vs Kaos (remember Maxwell Smart?). Today's New York papers have good stuff. David Brooks in the NYT wrote "No War is an Island" which gives you a wide enough lens to make sense of this war. It is not easy to see, because today's NYT op-ed page features David Grossman, an Israeli who is still stuck in yesterday's paradigm. Blinders are exposed beautifully in a must-read article by Bret Stephens in today's WSJ: "Palestine Makes You Dumb." You can google these articles even if you don't subscribe. 

Through Sara who isn't reporting back to base until tomorrow, I offer a spoonful of sugar to make the news go down. Soldiers at the front are experiencing a huge outpouring of love. A burger restaurant in Tel Aviv catered dinner. Macy's has fewer new towels on its shelves today than the IDF. And of course there is a Halloween-sized pile of candy. 

Thank you for the pictures of the NY rally. I'd say only in American but worth mentioning that a flash mob in Vienna, Austria demonstrated what it must be like to be going about your day and then suddenly having to take cover in 15 seconds, by lying prostrate on the ground, heads covered, ankles crossed. 

Israelis appreciate support from abroad and remain themselves supportive of a war which Netanyahu, in his state address at 8pm last night, called just. Israelis agree it is necessary, and they strongly support a PM who has thus far avoided big missteps. If the war effort stepped up yesterday, it is because there is not grounds for peace unless Hamas is demilitarized. Israel has real hopes for this in a second round of diplomacy, aided by newly-aligned Egypt, and its BFF, Best Friend Forever, America.