Recognize her? Perhaps not. This is the photo you might remember better.
Not long after placing seventh in an American modeling contest, the young Modern Orthodox Esther Petrak, a native of Jerusalem, joined the IDF to serve and defend Israel as an instructor in the Merkeva (Chariot) tanks.
Used to be, in the American army, it was “smoke ’em if ya got ’em,” and almost everyone did. And almost everyone had a Zippo lighter, too.
Nowadays, when the American army is so PC that it can’t stop murderous Muslims from joining its ranks and shooting up its bases, smoking is discouraged and the Zippo has gone the way of running in boots. Well, that part never made a whole lot of sense. Except, in combat, you might not have time to stop and put on your running shoes.
So what’s the point? And why the picture? That’s a Zippo, right there. And it’s emblazoned with the insignia of the 7th Armored Brigade, which commands the tank formations in the Israel Defense Forces. And they do smoke in the IDF, like just about everyone else in Israel. Well, a lot of them do. Besides, I like to annoy the anti-smokers on the intertubes.
I can’t say I like Israeli writer Etgar Keret’s short-short stories much. At least not the ones in The Girl On The Fridge collection. Most of them end too abruptly, just about the time I’m getting interested in the tale. Suppose to be the latest thing, these quickies, but most of them read like the writer ran out of imagination.
One of the few I do like is one that echoes something my Israeli pal Snoopy-the-Goon told me about young people coming off of their obligatory IDF active duty. Many of them leave Israel and light out for the Himalayas or somewhere else tough and adventurous, preferably somewhere no one else has been.
So, in The Journey, the hero does just that, winding up in the jungles of South America, satisfied that he’s finally found a place no other human has trod. Until he sees some secondary growth at the base of a large tree. It barely conceals something carved there. Something old. This: “Nir Dekel, August 5, Paratroopers Kick Ass.”
One of the curious features of Israeli life is the way her young conscript soldiers carry their loaded M-4s, M-16s, and other automatic weapons everywhere they go. In uniform and out. It’s required.
You see them in the grocery, the mall, the bus stop, the street, heck, even in the elevator. Snoop and I were riding an elevator in a mall near his home in Rehovot when it stopped to let on two young black men, apparently Ethiopian Jews. Both were in uniform, and both were fully armed.
If you didn’t know better (or you were a Hamas groupie) you might call it an example of Israel’s menace. In fact it’s to help these warriors become intimately familiar with their weapons and to be ready in case the Arabs attack without warning. As they have before, and Hamas still does.
Instead of having to find an armory, they can go directly to their unit’s assembly point announced on Army radio. Like in 1973 when, on the last day of Yom Kippur, the Syrians threw more than a thousand Russian battle tanks into the Golan Heights. The IDF outposts held them, at great cost to themselves, as the reserves and conscripts raced to help.
Hamas wanted it. Now they’ve got it. And, now, of course, they’re whining for a ceasefire, and their buddies in the European Union and the United Nations are condemning Israel for a “disproportionate response.” As if “you-kill-two-of-mine and I’ll-kill-two-of-yours” is the way real wars are fought.
Like Treppenwitz I find it increasingly hard to sympathize with the average Gaza Palestinian who allows Hamas to fire its mortars, rockets and, now, an anti-tank missile at an Israeli school bus without so much as a street protest. Have they learned nothing from the people of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria? Or are they just on Hamas’s side? Their willing partners in war crimes.
I am concerned for the young man with a critical head injury caused by the Hamas anti-tank missile, and the young conscript warriors of the IDF who must risk their lives fighting the barbaric arabs to defend Israelis. In the words of the song and the prayer: O Hashem, protect our men in arms. As they defend our land, shield them from harm. Hu yivarech et chayalei tzava hagana li Yisroel, Hu Yivarech.
The young warriors of the IDF, who fight the foes of the remnant of Israel.
With a great new song and video about them in Hebrew and English via Monkey In The Middle.