Monday, August 4, 2014

August 4


It looks like the war has run out of gas. Mothers are starting to talk about seeing their kids again. Jewish grandmothers already started cooking. Just in case!

Unless Hamas gets a Lucky Strike again. Bigger than random shots in Jerusalem on Mount Scopus which gravely hurt a soldier waiting for a bus. Bigger than killing a civilian by driving a tractor into a bus. If that seems loony to you, please know it seems pretty crazy to people here too. It is lunatic. Yet it is not the first time an Arab ‘borrowed’ a machine from a construction site and turned it into an instrument of destruction. Last time it was a borrowed bulldozer. Bet you didn’t know that!

Lucky Strikes need oxygen to light and this war is running out of oxygen. Such intensity just can’t last forever. Fires eventually burn out just as a third of missiles were fired (3,000!), while a third were destroyed, and probably a third remain. Hopefully no more tunnels go cross-border (32), though apparently hundreds of other tunnels remain. Israel did not raze Gaza by any means. But they did create damage, with the goal of creating deterrence. Hamas has, as Netanyahu warned, paid a price.

It is hard to imagine that it will bring about a lasting peace, but more about that next blog. This one is to just give a shout out to the soldiers. We hope you are all home this weekend! Not just sitting on Gaza’s border! Sleeping in your own bed. Eating the cakes already being baked. As many kinds of food as there are soldiers in the army: French, Arab (100% of Israelis who are Druze, a Muslim Arab sect in Lebanon-Syria-Israel corridor, serve– bet you didn’t know that!), Bedouin (many volunteer), Eastern European, Ethiopian, Sephardic/Mizrahi, South American, South African. Forgive me please if I left you off the list, it is not nearly complete.

I am fervently hoping our Shabbat table has one extra family member. Chances are good, but certainty does not sit easily in the Middle East. Must be the sandy foundation, so great for digging you-know-what.

All over this country families will be grieving, doing aftermath analysis and celebrating their soldiers, especially Eitan, Eric’s former commander, who defied protocol and leapt into a dark tunnel after his soldier, like a father into shark-infested waters after his child. Eitan took off hundreds of meters  into that hostile tunnel in pursuit of armed terrorists, and though there was no soldier retrieval to be made, he collected valuable intel. And amazed his troops and his country. Last May Eitan handed Eric a Purple Beret and an award for excellence, and now all of Israel is giving Eitan the equivalent of a Purple Heart for Bravery, very special, very rare.

And Eric is hopefully going to be present at our dinner this weekend. The dancing and the candy the Gazans and West Bankers distribute to celebrate the ‘victories’ of killing civilians and soldiers alike will stay on the other side of the wall. In Israel, wars, necessary for survival, always end in pain and reflection.

But you still gotta eat.

Greetings from two Americans with one foot out of Gaza