For the benefit of readers outside Israel, I’ll share the anecdotes that aren’t likely to make it into the mainstream news overseas. There’s more to this war than just explosions.
The silver lining on the terrible conflicts and wars here is the solidarity and spirit that you see emanating from people. Last night on the news, there was a segment with the proprieter of a small hotel in the north of the country who was offering free respite vacations to people from the south in rocket range, no charge. In general, families in the north who were the recipients of generosity in the past – from people willing to host them in the Center and South of the country are reciprocating.
Soccer and basketball teams in other parts of the country are offering their fields and homes to their counterparts in the south so they can continue to practice and compete. On the radio, the African-American star foreign player for Ashkelon’s professional basketball team, a guy named Steve Burtt, said that his family hadn’t wanted him to fly back to Israel after the Christmas holidays. But he came back anyway. He said, “The fans in Ashkelon support me and stand by me, I decided I had to support them, and stand by them.”
Good for you, Steve.
The brave comics of Israel’s Saturday Night Live, a show called Eretz Nehederet, dared to go on the air last night and attempt satire while the missiles were falling. And they managed to be hilarious – and only slightly tasteless. To demonstrate the wartime solidarity, they had Bibi Netanyahu and Tsippi Livni in army uniforms recreating the romantic final scene of “An Officer and the Gentleman” declaring that this was no time for politics. But then of course, they couldn’t hold themselves back and the insults started flying: “If I weren’t rising above politics, I’d be calling you a conceited, incompetent….”
They made fun of Israeli TV’s gung-ho military reporter Roni Daniel, showing him reporting dressed as Rambo, calling out the number of those killed on either side as if they were sports scores.
The whole show was framed by a typical Israeli family watching the events on television, and finally having to leave their living room when a siren sounded warning they needed to be in the bomb shelter in 45 seconds. They rushed around the room grabbing their most treasured possessions – including their flat-screen TV, which they ripped out of the wall – and then the room was deserted.
As the show ended and the credits rolled, the father of the family re-entered the house at the last minute for something they had forgotten – their kid. Oops.
They were calling the Second Lebanon War the first war to be blogged. This Gaza operation is the first to be Twittered.