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The American Girl in the Bunker

To a volunteer from New York in an IDF paratrooper unit, the rockets fired from Gaza last week felt like war

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The author and a fellow soldier. (Talia Lefkowitz)

My Facebook page is covered with photos and posts about the latest round of missile attacks launched into southern Israel from Gaza. “Fifty Rockets Hit Israel In the Last Three Days” the photo caption reads. The comments below the photo range from sanctimonious pro-Israel sentiment and prayers for the Jewish state to angry rants against Israeli arrogance and calls for a Palestinian state in the West Bank.

It’s a bit surreal to be reading these posts as I sit in a shelter with those very rockets shrieking overhead. I am a volunteer IDF soldier from New York City serving in an elite paratroopers unit. I am the only girl in a unit with 85 combat soldiers. Over the past year, we have served all over the country. Now we are based on the border of Gaza and Sinai, and things have started to get hairy.

The rocket attacks always stop at some point. I know there will eventually be a temporary ceasefire, and life on base will go back to normal. I’m surprised, frankly, that the current attacks even made it onto Facebook, because outside of Israel, no one seems to think they’re newsworthy, much less an act of war. No big deal, right?

It doesn’t feel that way inside the bunker. When you are on the other end of these rockets—hearing their high-pitched squeal as they fly past, feeling the room shake as they hit ground, and smelling the acrid smoke plumes that rise from the craters—it feels like war.

Our rooms on the base are similar to a caravan. The walls are thin, and the ceiling is just weak metal. Our beds are made of thin pieces of steel, and the mattress is a smelly egg-crate that has probably been slept on for over 20 years. When soldiers are not on missions, they are doing exactly what the movies portray: playing cards, smoking cigarettes, lifting dumbbells, making coffee on a little gas stove. Three days ago we were just minding our business when we heard a huge explosion that literally shook the ground. I know the floor moved because our coffee spilled.

I didn’t think it could be a rocket or bomb because the warning siren, the tzeva adom, had not sounded. We all ran out to see what the noise was all about, and in the distance, maybe 2 kilometers away, we could see the telltale plume of smoke.

Seconds later, the siren rang and we all ran to the nearest shelter. The shelter is windowless. The room is built to hold 30 people, but somehow we managed to squeeze 70 inside. Luckily there was air conditioning, but it leaked everywhere and no matter where we sat, our bodies were splattered. People were pushing themselves up against the bunker walls to make room for the latecomers. In this chaos, it was my job to get a head count of my whole unit and make sure everyone had made it.

After three hours, we were told by the head of the base’s intelligence that it was safe to leave. It wasn’t for long, though. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Three more rockets fell minutes later, this time even closer to us. The tzeva adom rang, but there was no time to find safety. Two seconds after the siren’s scream we felt the earth shake beneath our feet. We were totally vulnerable.

The nights are hell. I cannot sleep. I lie in bed, fully clothed, boots and helmet on, waiting to hear the alarm, waiting to dash out of the room to safety.

Hours go by without a rocket, and I start to relax. Maybe it’s over. The media, even the Israeli newspapers, are saying that it is no big deal. I start to believe them. But then another bomb hits without warning, and this one falls just feet from us. It’s like an earthquake. The room sways, and I fall out of my bed. The next few minutes seem to move in slow motion. Screaming, frenzy, smoke. Everyone running. Hands covering their ears. Wiping their eyes. Holding tissues over their mouths and noses.

As I run, trying to get to safety, I flash back to my family’s apartment in Manhattan, or to the house in which I grew up in Maryland. It’s inconceivable to me that something like this could happen there. There would be shock, outrage, even international condemnation. Or maybe such a massive American response that the rocket attacks would finally stop—forever. Instead, I am sure tomorrow’s Facebook page will be filled with more criticism of Israel and more justification for the attacks.

I am a New York City girl who came to Israel to defend the Jewish state. I am proud of my service and of all the remarkable young men I have met who risk their lives every day to keep this country safe. I am the girl in the bunker, and I can tell you that these rocket attacks are a big deal.

***

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I admire your courage. Stay strong.

Martin Gray
Miami, FL

כל הכבוד מצנחן לשעבר

brynababy says:

This should be sent to the New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. Who konws, miracles happen- they might even print it!

Thank you for serving and protecting Israel. It is a very selfless act you do as a volunteer. It is beyond my imagination what it is really like but your writing helps to see it. God Bless you and all the IDF!

You go girl, thumbs up, keep on writing!

I am the mother of a former IDF soldier who made aliyah from the USA. You are also my hero. Bravo to you. Your story brought tears to my eyes and made me so proud of our young men and women. You are the future of Israel and democracy. Mazel Tov and Am Yisrael Chai!

An amazing account, first hand I might add, of a truly scary situation. Not one of the media here in the USA mentions what is happening. I admire Talia’s courage and deication to Israel. Be strong and stay safe! and yes, hoping she will continue with updates of her experiences.

Gaza is probably getting their weapons from Iran. I believe they’re using Syria, Egypt & Palestinians to get rid of the Jewish state. They won’t make it. God has his hand on Israel. Be safe & get out of there. A woman has no place in combat. I admire your desire to help your people but find less dangerous ways to do that. You are a beautiful woman I’d hate to see you lose your life in such a brutal way

yevka says:

Manifest destiny isn’t so delicious seeming is it?

Truly inspiring! Thank you for being you. I can not wait to do as you do.

Yeah yevka, that’s the point. There is killing in Gaza because Gazans continue to make their decision to fight a war with Israel.

Stay safe Talia…we miss you back in NYC….your mom and dad must be very proud and very nervous…We are all so proud of you! xo

Neither is Jihad. Go talk to your friends in HAMAS and ask them why they consider it a sacrament to kill Jews.

David L. Mandel says:

The writer is undoubtedly brave and presumably motivated by a sincere desire to
serve Israel. But I implore her and her readers to open your minds to
asking the question of why the rockets are fired when they are. Examine
the sequence of events, and ponder the imbalance of military and
political power — and the extreme imbalance of casualties. For
starters, please read:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/06/29/expendable-lives.htm

Hi Talia,
Irene Shashar Lefkovitz is looking for her family.
Would you please contact her:
irene.shashar@gmail.com
Best wishes,
Gidi Poraz
http://www.KavHaDorot.com

CharlieDorsett says:

Israel does not TARGET civilians. Big difference, dude. Daniel Viflic knew. The “imbalance” you complain of is completely irrelevant, both morally and legally. Israel has every right to take whatever action is required to stop the PLO violations of international law. It’s not 10 bodies for 10 bodies – never has been and never will be, not for Israel, and not for any other country on this planet. If the PLO is worried about any “imbalance” of political power, it might start by following basic political rules. Imbalance of military power? Then they shouldn’t be stupid, starting fights they can’t possibly win.

Binyamin says:

Even Noam Shalit understands why the why these pea-shooter projectiles are coming out of Gaza. “Shalit said he believes that ‘maybe if I were a Palestinian,
I would fight the Israeli armed forces’.”

http://forward.com/articles/158209/ordeal-over-shalits-move-on/?p=all#ixzz1ywDc2wxo

(BTW, maybe its not news in either the Israeli or international press because there have been a grand total of 29 Israeli fatalities since the “rockets” began 2001, about one tenth the number of traffic fatalities over the same period. Meanwhile Israel has killed about 4000 Gazans, about a quarter under the age of 14.)

yevka says:

Jacob blood makes the olive orchards groves grow for nasty children like you. I pity the ever cycling cage of rage that is your incessant personal paradox

I do not believe in American citizens joining the military of a foreign nation.

David L. Mandel says:

When you bomb, strafe and fire artillery at civilian areas, you know very well that many are going to be killed, maimed and made homeless, as in fact occurs routinely. And when you know this it’s not only disingenuous to assert, “But we didn’t target civilians.” It’s a serious war crime.

chrf says:

gross

The price of one dead Israeli is one million dead Arabs. If you and your Arab friends do not like this price, then stop firing rockets at Israel.

The price of one dead Israeli is one million dead Arabs. If you and your Arab friends do not like this price, then stop firing rockets at Israel.

Jonathan Farache says:

That we are fortunate enough to have the better parts of all their mortar fire miss us is not relevant in any way. It is not our fault that their equipment is mostly home made, poorly aimed, and mostly crap. But that they choose to fire at us is enough to merit a retaliation – or do you propose we wait until they hit a kindergarden full of 3 year olds? Then would the “grand total” be enough to fight back?
If we sat idly by as they launches volley after volley of rockets, the salvo would be ceasless – by hitting back we are merely letting them know that there is a risk involved in shooting us.

Jonathan Farache says:

Only in wars and in big operations do we use artillery. Retalliatory fire against their mortar-teams is executed via precise air-force attacks, or sophisticated guided infantry missiles, or even snipers.

Get your facts straight.

yevka says:

And Israelis continue to gang Gazans contained within a ghetto. What is the pious point with reprove you are shaking your silly finger with Jacob?

Binyamin says:

I admire the candor of the Arab haters, Daveed. You are a racist and you don’t try to hide it. What will you do with all those dead bodies? If you bury them the rotting flesh will pollute Israel’s ground water. But wait, there was a prior mass extermination in history where they solved that problem.

Binyamin says:

I admire the candor of the Arab haters, Daveed. You are a racist and you don’t try to hide it. What will you do with all those dead bodies? If you bury them the rotting flesh will pollute Israel’s ground water. But wait, there was a prior mass extermination in history where they solved that problem.

Binyamin says:

This is schoolyard logic, Jonathan. The Palestinians believe it was Israel who started the fight, you say its those crazy A-rabs.

My question is this: why should the U.S. arm the schoolyard bully to the teeth? What is in America’s interests is a stable region, and that requires not schoolyard bullies, but an Israeli electorate willing to partition JLem, evacuate the settlers and pay compensation to the ’67 refugees. Its real simple.

Our IDF hotnik here is on the wrong track. She should join the ISMniks.

Binyamin says:

This is schoolyard logic, Jonathan. The Palestinians believe it was Israel who started the fight, you say its those crazy A-rabs.

My question is this: why should the U.S. arm the schoolyard bully to the teeth? What is in America’s interests is a stable region, and that requires not schoolyard bullies, but an Israeli electorate willing to partition JLem, evacuate the settlers and pay compensation to the ’67 refugees. Its real simple.

Our IDF hotnik here is on the wrong track. She should join the ISMniks.

There were many Jews like David Mandel in Germany and Eastern Europe during WW2. We are German, we are assimilated, these are cultured societies. We are not like those smelly shtetl Jews. Much to their surprise, they found themselves in the cattle cars with those shtetl Jews.

I am the son of an Auschwitz survivor who also immigrated to Israel and served in the paratroops. My mother walked quietly onto the cattle car to Auschwitz. My generation and people like Talia won’t, despite what holier than thou people like Mandela say.

There were many Jews like David Mandel in Germany and Eastern Europe during WW2. We are German, we are assimilated, these are cultured societies. We are not like those smelly shtetl Jews. Much to their surprise, they found themselves in the cattle cars with those shtetl Jews.

I am the son of an Auschwitz survivor who also immigrated to Israel and served in the paratroops. My mother walked quietly onto the cattle car to Auschwitz. My generation and people like Talia won’t, despite what holier than thou people like Mandela say.

Talia, thank you so very much for sharing you experience with us. I for one, greatly appreciate what you are doing. As I read over the comments on this story I find so many so caught up in their political rhetoric that they seem to over look the individuals effected on all sides, even though they will claim that is why they are arguing (and yes, I expected to get summarily blasted for this view).
Even though I am only 38 years old, I have experienced levels of antisemitism that caused me to fear for my safety, and at times my life, on a daily basis for 22 years just because I am a Jew. I am so appreciative for those who are willing to stand up in defense of our people.
We are seem to be trapped in a situation where the radicalized views of a few cause devastation to so many innocents, the young soldiers like yourself, the children who’s backyard is used to fire these rockets, and the countless others who’s daily suffering is less important than a politician’s fight. But I believe that we can escape from any trap.
Again, thank you for what you are doing and for sharing your experience with all of us. And seriously consider journalism after you enlistment is over.
Josh Kaplan

Talia, thank you so very much for sharing you experience with us. I for one, greatly appreciate what you are doing. As I read over the comments on this story I find so many so caught up in their political rhetoric that they seem to over look the individuals effected on all sides, even though they will claim that is why they are arguing (and yes, I expected to get summarily blasted for this view).
Even though I am only 38 years old, I have experienced levels of antisemitism that caused me to fear for my safety, and at times my life, on a daily basis for 22 years just because I am a Jew. I am so appreciative for those who are willing to stand up in defense of our people.
We are seem to be trapped in a situation where the radicalized views of a few cause devastation to so many innocents, the young soldiers like yourself, the children who’s backyard is used to fire these rockets, and the countless others who’s daily suffering is less important than a politician’s fight. But I believe that we can escape from any trap.
Again, thank you for what you are doing and for sharing your experience with all of us. And seriously consider journalism after you enlistment is over.
Josh Kaplan

Jonathan Farache says:

Well seeing as you didn’t disprove anything I said, and in fact changed the topic altogether, I deduce that what you have to say is just a mass of bottled up rage against the media-distorted version of Israel..

Also, *you* said it was “those crazy A-rabs”, which is both racist and ignorant.

“Against stupidity, not even the gods can contend”
As I am not even a demigod, I take my leave from arguing with you.

David L. Mandel says:

In Gaza as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc., “precise” and “sophisticated, guided” weapons almost always produce civilian casualties. And meanwhile, the seeds of future conflict are regularly sown by the “precise” armored bulldozers that destroy homes, crops and whole villages, not to mention all the other repressive apparatus of siege, closure, travel and residency denials — the whole megilla of occupation. It’s sad that you’re so in denial; self-destructive, in fact, as belief in these myths is actually making Israel a much more dangerous place for its Jewish citizens as well as its Palestinian victims, and making the world a less friendly place for Jews, who become identified whether they want to or not with a criminal Israeli regime that claims to speak for us. But change is coming. More and more of the sane world is no longer putting up with this, including more and more of the Jewish community. I hope you too will come around and join us.

Thanks for doing something many of us cannot.

emunadate says:

I admire your courage. May G-d be with you, Talia and keep you safe. That being said, I believe it is your right to serve and you should. However, I also believe you should be moved out of there ASAP. Combat is not a place for a girl.

I have to wonder if a woman is kidnapped what would the country do to get her out? http://emunadate.blogspot.co.il/2011/10/gilad-shalit-homecoming.html

For years, sections of the media have either ignored or belittled the rocket attacks against Israel’s southern communities. But, as the writer concludes, they are, in fact, a big deal. Why is why World ORT has contributed to the new rocket-proof campus at Sha’ar HaNegev School campus, just a couple of minutes from the Gaza border as the Qassam flies.

https://www.facebook.com/WorldORT#!/notes/world-ort/shaar-hanegev-a-school-fit-for-heroes/497419260273398

Jonathan Farache says:

I qlways thought everything was clearer with a good analogy, so allowe to give you one:

Say we’re not using rockets, but bows and arrows; the Hamas assaults are more often than not fired by a drunken, aimless dolt, in the general of a civilian population. On the other hand, the Israeli sode will only ever send out Robin Hood in retalliation, but lo and behold the enemy is hiding behind innocent civilians. While Robin Hood is the best marksman in the land, even he will have a hard time being 100% accurate. I didn’t say civilians didn’t get hit, but if they stopped shielding Hamas members amongst them, it might decrease collateral damage.

A few more points: what bulldozers? Where? I honestly have no clue what you’re on about.
I am in denial? Of what? What myths are you talking about?

And ok, yes sure I will join the guy who throws around a whole lot of words that sum up to an impressive amount of nothing. All you really said was something about bulldozers (??), something else about other “apparatus of siege” (great wording, really, but again.. ???), and some unbacked philosophical blabber about the Jewish population of the world steadily turning against the State of Israel.

Yes I think I’m beginning to come around now.

shosh hirsh says:

Israel is the eternal homeland of the Jewish people and we are forever connected to it. It is our God-given birthright and mandate despite the many expulsions from Israel over history. It is God’s miracles that support and protect us, the Jewish people, in our belief, will and courage to hold on to our land. If only the Arabs would come to this realization, then peace could be accomplished.

Dick Stanley says:

It’s always encouraging to see the young recruits, male and female, white and black, carrying their rifles at the malls and on the street. Even hitch-hiking, which they’re no longer supposed to do.

Why isn’t this Brooklyn woman serving the United States? Her disloyalty to her birth country is despicable. Israel is a foreign nation whose policies consistently endanger the United States. This woman – this self-proclaimed “New York City girl” – should be ashamed of her disloyalty to America and her participation in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Ghetto?
Sorry Yevka, but there is no Ghetto in Gaza. The reality is that Israel remains at war with HAMAS – a violent extremist organization with a blatantly racist philosophy and genocidal goal.
By contrast, ghetto’s where constructed because Europeans could not live with Jews who sought to live in peace.
Israel has set out several conditions for the ending of its blockade.
1. HAMAS ends its campaign of violence
2. HAMAS ends its campaign of incitement
3. HAMAS accepts the agreements made by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
BUT, rather than accede to such modest conditions, HAMAS prefers to conduct its Jihad – to the detriment of the Palestinian population.
Just a few weeks ago, HAMAS and its allies launched over 100 rockets at Israeli villages and cities. That’s war as well as a war crime. Given this situation, Israel’s government has both the right and responsibility to protect Israeli civilians from such attacks. If that plan includes a blockade of Gaza, then you need to ask HAMAS why it chooses to continue to wage war.

No yevka, you don’t pity anything. You are a hate-monger that has a problem with Israel and Jews.

shosh hirsh says:

Check your facts before you criticize – the U.S.A. allows dual citizenship which implies loyalty to another country besides your birth country. And Israel is an ally of the USA and not a danger to her. Think of, for example, two parents from two different countries – you can love both parents and their countries, especially if the countries are allies. Since when are charitable acts of any sort especially for an allied country an act of disloyalty. When there are calamaties all over the world, don’t for example doctors, medical experts and emergency teams from all countries join in humanitarian support. This girl’s act is nothing less than humanitarian. Israel goes to all countries all over the world to help when they are in trouble.

Serving a foreign military is not bad in itself, and not strictly illegal, either. Otherwise the Abraham Lincoln Brigade would have lost their citizenship. However, the Israeli military is a despicable cause, because Israel is a racial segregationist state and the Gaza Palestinians are mostly from Israel in the Green Line, yet they’re prevented from returning to their homes and freely moving through the country.

Jonathan Farache says:

Racial segregationist state? Really? Do you say so because we give any race with Jewish heritage citizenship? Or because we allow Sudanese refugees of any belief to cross our border freely? Maybe it’s the shelter, refuge, and sometimes even citizenship we give these refugees what makes us a racial segregationist state.. Oh I know, remember in 2010 when that giant earthquake devastated Hati, and Israel was the first to send support? Must be because of all the Jews there.. I hope you’re catching some of my sarcasm, Andrew.

Regarding the Gaza Palestinians, most of whom fled Israel in 1948 at the collective promise of the surrounding Arab nations of an annihilated Israeli state, are free to earn a work permit in Israel, thereby granting freedom of movement throughout the country.

Stop throwing around random bits of media-induced propaganda that you clearly have no idea about.

“Do you say so because we give any race with Jewish heritage citizenship?”

Jewish heritage is the keyword in that sentence. Israel’s citizenship criteria is racially defined against non-Jews who were present in the country and should have been entitled to citizenship by virtue of residence, but were expelled and granted ‘absentee’ status by Israeli law. That’s before going into the intra-Jewish racism present in Zionist history, that apologists for Israel would rather not talk about.

“Or because we allow Sudanese refugees of any belief to cross our border freely?”

Well, no, you don’t. Most African refugees in Israel are there illegally.

“Oh I know, remember in 2010 when that giant earthquake devastated Hati, and Israel was the first to send support?”

This is flatout irrelevant to Israel’s discriminatory legislation.

“Regarding the Gaza Palestinians, most of whom fled Israel in 1948 at the
collective promise of the surrounding Arab nations of an annihilated
Israeli state”

Most of them fled armed campaigns to expel them. Haifa and Jaffa were empty of most of their inhabitants before any Arab military entered Palestine.

“are free to earn a work permit in Israel, thereby granting freedom of movement throughout the country.”

You need a permit to have freedom of movement. I’m not worried about losing to you in a battle of wits, that’s for certain.

Binyamin,
I don’t want any dead bodies. All the Arabs have to do is stop shooting, enjoy liberated Gaza, and Israel will stop shooting them. As for your reference to the Holocaust, please remind me when the Jews in Europe opened missile fire on the civilian Nazis. As long as the Arabs are opening fire, however, my price remains: one million dead for each dead Israeli. And NO dead if there are no dead Israelis.

Jonathan Farache says:

It’s not a battle of wits, but en garde either way:

You called Israel a racial segregationist. When a Jew from any race is accepted to Israel as a citizen, that automatically defeats that argument, because Judaism is a belief, not a race.

Sudanese refugees may be here illegaly, but the conditions they have are remarkable when you compare what happens to other illegal immigrents in other country. And trust me, their passage, illegal or otherwise, goes by unhindered.
How is Haiti irelevant? Let me remind you what you said: Racial Segregationist State. If that were so, why would we bother helping a country oceans apart from us?

Armed campaigns. Yes, two sides shot at eachother, and the losing side retreated, that’s how battles work. On some accounts, on others they just picked up and left, as I said, under the false promise of a conquered Israel.

Of course you need a permit… I mean, obviously! You can’t just let anyone through, that’s how terrorists get by. We have our safety to take care of, too.

The fact that a Palestinian refugee or a refugee’s child or grandchild can’t be an Israeli citizen is what makes Israel segregationist. Also, you can’t have it both ways. Nazi Germany’s anti-Jewish policies are generally considered racist, so when a state discriminates in favor of Jews and against someone else, that has to be racist as well. Calling a policy ‘racist’ does not mean acknowledging the target group as a race.

Once again, Israel sending an aid mission to another country has nothing to do with its internal legislation or how it was constructed as a Jewish state. Since you’re forcing the issue, one possible answer is PR. Even positive stories about the aid mission to Haiti brought up Israel’s image.

“Whether clad in IDF uniforms, wearing the flag of Israel on their
shoulders or holding Shabbat prayers during a brief break from their
rescue work, the Israeli aid workers’ visible presence in Haiti is
helping to promote a positive image of Israel in a world more accustomed
to seeing the nation negatively.”
http://www.jewishjournal.com/cover_story/article/israeli_aid_effort_helps_haitiansand_israels_image_20100119/

“Armed campaigns. Yes, two sides shot at eachother, and the losing side retreated, that’s how battles work.”

Civilians fleeing a conflict zone have the unconditional right to return; it’s because the Zionist founders planned to turn Palestine into a Jewish state that they did not permit the Palestinian refugees to return.

Binyamin says:

You cannot “enjoy” a prison camp, even one like Gaza that is relatively well supplied (no thanks to Israeli taxpayers) and where the prisoners themselves administer the camp.

As long as the Palestinians lack justice, they will resist, just as you would had you been born a Gazan.

It is Jews like you who are perpetuating the conflict. The result? Israel is the least safe place on the planet for Jews, and it will only get worse as long as you and Israel claim that Hamas pea-shooters, and not the occupation, is the source of the problem.

Binyamin says:

Yes Mr. Frarache, here are a few facts: 29 israelis have been killed by Gaza rockets since 2001 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Qassam_rocket_attacks) versus

5961 Gazans, 2184 of whom were
civilians, and of that number, 1005 were children.

http://www.btselem.org/English/Statistics/Casualties.asp

When you attack one of the most densely populated places on the planet with F-16s, Mekavas and Apaches, you know full well what the results will be — a war crime.

Jonathan Farache says:

I like to think of myself as a man of the mind, so I really have enjoyed this back and forth, but you chose to compare Israel to no less than Nazi-Germany.. and from experience I know that people that have the nerve, or maybe it’s ignorance, to do that can only produce fruitless, narrow-minded conversations. You let me down, Andrew.

Get used to it. Nazi Germany didn’t come out of nowhere. There are reams of scholarship comparing the practices of eugenics in both the US and the Third Reich. And if Israel is going to be defended as a necessity in the wake of the Third Reich, it’s fair game for comparison.

Great article! I hope you’ll forgive this – cracks me up that I searched for you on Google and your wedding registry is on the first page of results. :-)

Brian_R_Allen says:

Why are the rocket-propelled BOMBS psychopathological islamists incessantly fire at innocent Israelis not called by their proper name: BOMBS?!

Rather than always being written of as if they are but a reminder of America’s Birthday or of Guy Fawkes’ Day? But a reminder of July Fourth or of November 5?

Oh, goodie! It’s cracker night?

Still.

@FoxNews @SkyNews @SkyNewsAust @SkyNZ #teaparty #auspol

the jews stole palestine murdered palestinians bombed them starved them the jews should get out and give palestine back to the palestine people and no i am not a muslim i am irish spanish catholic

Paul Simon says:

Cry me a river, princess. You’re in the IDF. You’re responsible for raining death upon children in Gaza on a daily basis. Presumably you think that is justified. Oh what, you DON’T like rockets being fired at you? Then maybe stop bombing Gaza, you self-interested, selfish, myopic, daddy’s girl New York brat.

naor kamma says:

I always prefered Garfunkel you close minded shmuk

Jonathan Farache says:

Paul, Talia’s work pertains solely to logistics and human resource management. To attack her personally in such an exaggerated fashion for a non-existant crime that she didn’t even commit only exemplifies your cluelessness regarding the situation in the middle east.

There is no “death upon children in Gaza on a” daily, weekly, or any basis. The deaths you speak of are unfortunate, unintentional casualties of war/operations such as Cast Lead, as opposed to the target attacks against civilians from Hamas members on the Gazan side.

Daddy’s girl? She left the warmth, comfort, and safety her NY home to come to Israel, to support a cause in an emphatically selfless way. Joining the IDF is anything but “self-interested”, or “selfish” which, by the way, is synonymous to one another. Myopic isn’t far off, either.

naor kamma says:

You’re just wrong. And no, I’m not Jewish, I’m a Buddhit from Papua New Guinea.

tzur says:

Col. Richard Kemp, CBE, former Commander of British forces in Afghanistan, and also commander of troops in Northern Ireland and the Iraq war and one of the foremost experts in the world on counter-terrorism problems, informed an UN Human Rights Council inquiry into the 2009 Gaza war that “Mr President, based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.” His statement to the UN HRC can be seen and heard at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX6vyT8RzMo.

Retired Major General Jim Molan, American Chief of Operations of Allied forces in the Iraq war during 2004-2005, and who monitored the Gaza conflict closely, strongly agreed in public addresses and articles after the Gaza conflict. See for example his “UN’s bias binds Gaza,” The Australian, October 2, 2009, at http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,26152548-7583.html.

Anthony Cordesman of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies has concluded that Israel has set a very high humanitarian standard in dealing with urban terrorists that hide in their own civilian population, that civilian casualties were minimal given the situation, and that to refuse to engage the enemy that hides amongst civilians would grant them easy victories and would leave democracies defenseless. It is therefore unacceptable in international law to abdicate self-defense on such grounds. See his 96-page report, The “Gaza War”: A Strategic Analysis, at csis.org/files/media/csis/pubs/090202_gaza_war.pdf

Jeffrey White, a strategic analyst and expert in military defense, underlines the strong efforts made by Israel to avoid civilian casualties, in his “Examining the Conduct of IDF Operations in Gaza,” Policy Watch 31497, March 27, 2009 (at http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=3034). 

This means that the world’s leading authorities in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism warfare, including our top military commanders directly involved in defending our Western democracies against it, hold up Israel as a model for how to conduct these operations humanely and morally, so far as it is possible to do so. No other army in the world, either now or in the past, has achieved Israel’s high standards: it sets the lead.

Current Allied commanders in Afghanistan have acknowledged Israeli leadership in counter-insurgency methods and ethical standards and have sought to learn from them, which, despite the media hype, has greatly improved the effectiveness and moral rigour of the Coalition response in Afghanistan and has certainly put it far above that of the Taliban.

Even Richard Goldstone, whose UN-sponsored report at first accepted Hamas claims regarding Israel’s conduct of the war, later withdrew that endorsement and acknowledged Israel’s morally responsible efforts to minimise casualties and to punish any deviations from this policy if they could be confirmed in subsequent inquiries, although very few were confirmed. On the other hand, Goldstone found that following his Report Hamas leaders made no efforts at all to investigate any alleged war crimes done by its own fighters, nor to punish those guilty of them. On the contrary, they boasted of their crimes, treated the perpetrators as heroes and “martyrs,” and like the Fatah leadership of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, praised them in their schoolrooms, at official ceremonies, in their media, from the podium of their mosques, and so on. The worse the atrocities they committed, the prouder they openly were. Just like the Nazis.

tzur says:

Paul Simon, David Mandel, binyamin, all these so very “Jewish” names… But maybe none are Jewish after all; it is a common tactic of antisemites on such blogs to pretend a Jewish identity so as to shield themselves from the charge that they are antisemitic. Of course even Jews can be so ignorant of their culture and people, so assimilated into antisemitic non-Jewish environments that like the most extremist “Uncle Toms” amongst Black slaves in the south they can take their persecutors’ side; there can be Jewish antisemites. Karl Marx is a typical example. One must judge whom one is dealing with simply by considering the contents of their assertions. In this case they use coarse and highly abusive personal slurs even against Talia Lefkovitz, type whole Jewish communities in demonizing fashion, and thus seem to be clones of the usual antisemites.

As for the unjustified charges against the IDF, see my earlier post above, which amply refutes all these slanders.

Jonathan Farache says:

Excellent post.

Binyamin says:

If all that is true, why are there 5961 fatalities versus the 29 Israeli from the exchange of rocket fire? That’s a 200 to 1 kill ratio. I’m sure the “real” Zionists here would like that number to be a million to one, but one of the central tenants democracies accept in waging war is proportionality. If Israel is so restrained, why are 36% of the fatalities from the rockets going into Gaza civilians? And 17% of them are children.
http://www.btselem.org/English...
And lets be clear. The Gazan rockets are home-made mortars. If they were supplied the same the precision-guided munitions that Israel has (courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer), then yes, your criticism of “deliberately killing civilians” would be valid. The jihadi so-called “rockets” are a pathetic attempt to subject southern Israel to the same collective punishment the Gazan people experience.
And please, Zionist trufan beliebers, stop whining about Hamas “hiding among civilians.” That is what every guerrilla army in history has done. When the partisans of Europe fought the Nazis, did they “hide behind civilians”? You bettcha. It is true Israel could exterminate all of the Gazans (indeed all of the Palestinians) and it wouldn’t take the IDF very long at all. To that extent, yes, the IDF was “restrained.”
And it is true, what Israel seeks to accomplish is not extermination, but capitulation. Cast Lead was an attempt to crush not only Gaza’s will to resist, but, in the immortal words of “Boogie” Ya’alom, to “burn into the Palestinian psyche that they are a deeply defeated people.”
For that perspective, however, the IDF has not killed nearly enough Gazan children. The Palestinians will not accept their subjugation, no matter how overwhelmingly powerful the weapons of the occupiers. In that sense, they bear a striking resemblance to an earlier group of semites who stubbornly resisted Roman rule for centuries.

It would seem the author neglects to comment on why the attacks are happening in the first place. Perhaps that is an issue that should be addressed.

tzur says:

Thank you, Jonathan. And how pathetic the counter-argument offered by the alleged “Binyamin” poster is. It shows that no evidence at all that shows Israel as far superior morally to the terrorists will be acceptable to the antisemites of this world. The supposed moral outrage they express has nothing of morality about it. They even think that the fact that there are only very low casualties of the IDF, so strikingly different from the higher casualties of the terrorists who boast of their “cult of death” (all of which actually shows the competence of the IDF, and the vicious incompetence of the terrorists), is some sort of reason to condemn Israel! It only proves the necessity for Israel to keep up the blockade of Gaza, and to prevent better weapons and rockets from reaching Hamas. Moreover, despite the Gazans having initiated the rocket attacks when Israel withdrew from the area and offered the hand of peace, and even refused for years to counter the thousands of rockets with military responses, nevertheless “Binyamin” supposes that any self-defense at all, however professionally competent and extremely morally restrained, is evidence that Israel is the guilty party in this conflict and at fault for the terrorist rockets in the first place! With such people, there can be no dialogue. But the very fact that such people do exist, both in the Muslim world and on the far right and left in the West, even today after the Holocaust, shows irrefutably how necessary it is that there is a Jewish state that will defend Jews from their irrational hate-filled enemies.

abajo88 abajo88 says:

Lol big talk from jewboy. Cant even handle Hizbollah, the no.1 israeli parts distributor in the middle east. 100 armor and copters down from a bunch of guys on bikes in 30 days. Israel is a bully, only brave to hit smaller and weaker opponents, and big talk towards Iran when only america is on their backs. ANd you know it too. Lol

abajo88 abajo88 says:

At least spell Buddhist right. What a troll.

abajo88 abajo88 says:

All israel adults are soldiers. There is no civilians except kids and older people who are not idf. And the offsprings will become soldiers too. So what is the big deal?

abajo88 abajo88 says:

there must be reasons everyone dislike / hate the jews for millenias. It’s their brainpower stuck in their egos.

abajo88 abajo88 says:

Wow and israel is not racist.. lol.. 200 nukes.. self defense? lol what a noob jewboy.. the skullcap is too tight amigo

abajo88 abajo88 says:

Didnt know u can serve in another’s military.. that is actual grounds for loss of citizenship.

abajo88 abajo88 says:

join the army, and get bombed.. and cry.. lol

maias says:

” It is our God-given birthright and mandate”.
You
are evidently not aware there is a Jewish group, Neturei Karta (Guardians of
the City), in Israel, which opposes Zionism and calls for a peaceful
dismantling of the State of Israel, in the belief that Jews are forbidden to
have their own state until the coming of the Messiah.

This belief is stated in the Jewish holy book,
The Torah, and it forbids Jews to end their exile and establish a state and army
until the Holy One, blessed He, in His Glory and Essence redeems them. This is
forbidden even if the state is conducted according to the law of the Torah
because arising from the exile itself is forbidden. Jews are required to remain
under the rule of the nations of the world, as is explained in the book VAYOEL
MOSHE. If they transgress this injunction, He will bring terrible punishment
upon them.

Joseph Kelsall says:

It sounds like every night in Gaza, only they don’t have the missiles to fight Israeli bombers.
I’ll swap you for a week in Liverpool, UK.

tzur says:

abajo88, the chief reason is that “everyone” so envies the Jews they want to take over for themselves what Jews have, and resent that Jews do not agree with this dispossession and disappear into themselves. “Everyone” tries to imitate their religion and culture, drawing from Judaism and mixing it with their own previous values to form Christianity, or to form Islam, or eventually even to form liberal democracy itself (see Eric Nelson, The Hebrew Republic: Jewish Sources and the Transformation of European Political Thought [2010], relating to the founding European thinkers who established modern democratic theory back in the 16th through the 18th centuries), or in the most recent past to form socialism.

That means that all of humanity today, whether in the East or the West, has in one way or another loved, identified themselves with, and been deeply shaped in their most personal ethical standards as well as their general socio-political and religious values by Jewish culture and values. They want to claim them as their very own, and even would like to believe that they have “improved” on them and “perfected” them, thereby justifying their own separate existence as a religious community. And therefore there is the resentment: the Jews still exist, and have not endorsed as a people and a whole religious community any of the various partial and variously distorted versions that their imitators claim is the inevitable or best fulfilment of Judaism.

The only exception to this dynamic is in regard to the liberal democratic offspring of Judaism. But this is after all, as its founding thinkers stressed back in the 16th and 17th centuries, an actualization not simply of Judaism but of the Noahite Covenant, and therefore not intended to replace Judaism but to supplement it, broadly secular and pluralistic in tendency, which for those thinkers did not have absolutistic nor totalitarian features, so just about all Jews can and do endorse that without ceasing to be Jewish.

But in regard to the other offshoots, we see a fierce resentment and displacement urge for example already in the New Testament to explain why all Jews did not agree with the paganized Christian sect, and become Christian, part of the alleged “New Israel.” The Jews must have been demonic to reject what to the Christians was so obviously the real spiritual essence of Judaism itself, and the still ongoing and faithful Judaism as such must “really” be the religion not of God but of Satan. Otherwise, Christianity itself must be mistakened! They saw things in black-and-white, saved-or-damned, either-or terms.

The same explanation was given by the Arabs, again already in their founding scripture the Qur’an, to account for the fact that the Jews did not accept Muhammad nor Islam, nor abandon and disown their own religion and people.

In much the same way, the socialists already in the nineteenth century put down Jewish autonomy, persistence and success in the modern period as the essence of “capitalism” itself, and Christian and National Socialists added racist theories to this: only by overcoming “Judaism” and “the Jews” would the Millenium, or the Marxist utopia, arrive. The Soviet Communists characterized “Zionism” as their worst enemy, and sought to destroy Jewish religious practice even more fiercely than they attacked any other religion.

In this way, all the various offshoots (except the liberal democratic one) showed that they felt threatened ideologically and basically by the continued existence of Jews and Judaism, regardless of what Jews actually did or their religion actually taught: lies would do to blacken both. According to each of the more absolutistic and totalitarian offshoots, the only explanation for the Jewish refuse to acknowledge and disappear into their own version was the recalcitrance, demonism and so on of the Jews. Yet, despite this, the God of Israel, the Torah itself, Judaism and Jews have continued to benefit the whole of humanity, and through a kind of osmosis to raise the values and spiritual worldview of everyone.

tzur says:

Interestingly enough, it is the jihadis (often called the Islamofascists), along with the far right and the far left in the West, i.e., the fascist coalition, who in fact often echo Nazi ideology and antisemitism themselves (including the Big Lie techniques of propaganda — as in the Hamas Covenant and the PLO Covenant too), who prominently push the Nazi analogy with Israel. Really, their polemic is really a self-criticism, projected onto the Jews as usual. This sort of indicates where andrew r is coming from.

tzur says:

This is what passes for a rebuttal by abajo88 and his ilk. Openly racist slurs without any perceptible relationship to what was written by Jacob Blues.

*Yawn* Israel and Nazi Germany both stripped people of citizenship on a racial basis… Germany with Jews and Romani, Israel with the Palestinian refugees. Both states were set up for the benefit of a certain “race” to the exclusion of outsider races.

Also, you need to stop pretending everything with a Nazi connection was an enemy of the West. Ford and GM held 70% of the German auto market circa 1938, and IBM had their Hollerith punchcard machines. American big business did, well, big business in Nazi Germany.

By the way, jihadists had American and Saudi backing against Nasser, and the US and its Gulf allies are backing the jihadists in Syria right now. The US is not strictly an enemy of jihadists everywhere… and don’t forget the Afghan Mujahadeen which included a certain bin Laden.

Also, yes, I’m a closet Nazi. I disguise my Nazism by pretending to hate its racist doctrine. The only difference between Nazism and Zionism is that Nazism wants to kill me but Zionism wants me to kill someone else. Both movements and their followers can eat me.

Jeshurun says:

a comment like this coming from Ireland is no surprise. If you stopped spouting propaganda you read everyday in the Irish media for one second and bothered to look at both sides of the story, then maybe you’d think twice about writing such facile comments.

As a soldier, you should familiarize yourself with the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The convention was written in the aftermath of WWII because the world was horrified by the Nazi’s methods of waging war.

The Fourth Geneva Convention describes and bans crimes of war against occupied peoples.

The army you fight for is in violation of the articles that ban collective punishment, ethnic cleansing, and theft of resources from occupied peoples.

Service in an army that commits war crimes every day is not something to be proud of.

normbnm says:

Talia take care. I’ve sat in bunkers and in open fields with rockets,
mortars and artillery raining down. The hopeless feeling of just waiting
for it to hit, the sounds they make on the way to striking you or
missing you and all you can do is wait, perhaps pray, perhaps yell in
anger or sit in silence can’t be describe if you have never been their.
Sorry to say it stays lurking in you till the end. In reading the
comments in response to your story nearly all miss the point. Writing
about it, talking to others is a means of dealing with what is going on
inside of you after it stops, weeks later and even years latter. It is
expressing how truly horrible that Humanity can’t see that we all are
connected. Its not about war or who’s right or wrong it is about the
result of selfish desires of people, cultures, beliefs and Government.
You will find yourself ( as you have in writing this article and myself
in writing this comment) of screaming out stop it people. The World does
not have to be this way, we’ve let it be this way by not reaching out
to each other. Seeing how connected we all are and that if we can start
treating each other the way we want to be treated. feeling it, doing it,
we could end this crisis.

Big talk from an Jew Hater like yourself!! You are either a complete idiot, a Islamic-Fascist or both…I think both..Now F. Off!!

Big talk from an Jew Hater like yourself!! You are either a complete idiot, a Islamic-Fascist or both…I think both..Now F. Off!!

And what are you, Islamic-Fascist!!

Natan79 says:

May you and your family be at the mercy of Al Qaida and Hamas. We know you give money to them, Rob.

KaKa Khan says:

News: Kim Kardashian slammed over pro-Israel tweet, deletes it..

Kim said she’s praying for Israel and gets slammed.
I don’t care who Kim Kardashian is, the fact remains it’s gotten to the
point where it’s no longer politically correct to even pray for Israel.
I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe it’s come this far. God help
us all. It’s happening again. All over again.. How did we find ourselves
here once more? Absolutely unbelievable…

Natan79 says:

Are you one Gaza Hamas people who sends rockets to Israelis? May one of those Hamas rockets fall not on Israelis, but you Joseph Kelsall, your house and everyone you love.

Natan79 says:

May a Hamas rocket fall on you.

Natan79 says:

Absolutely. The attacks are happening since Hamas started last week again to send rockets to Israel. But there’s nothing more that you like except for seeing Jews under rockets. So naturally Zachary Geiger you like Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaida and whoever else wants to kill Jews.

Natan79 says:

Dear Paul Simon, here’s my sincere and very personal wish to you: may a Hamas rocket fall on yourself instead of falling on Israelis. On you, your house and every single person you love.

Natan79 says:

Fuck you Spanish Irish Donna Maria Morello. YOUR fucking Spanish ancestors murdered us and exiled us so that we go where we came from (where YOUR Roman ancestors exiled us from) and now you want us murdered by Arabs? We returned to our ancestral country and that’s not good enough for you. “Don’t be n Spain, don’t be in Israel”. Don’t be here, don’t be there: you want us dead. Go to hell yourself. May you, your ancestors and your brood all be cursed.

Natan79 says:

Anti-Semitic bastard. You have no problem with the Law of Return in European countries, all based on nationality and ancestry. No just with Jewish one you have a problem. Be cursed, Jew-hater.

Natan79 says:

You are not a closet Nazi. You are a Nazi. You have no problem with Germany admitting germans under the Law of Return. But you do have a problem with Israel. Yes you are an anti-Semitic Nazi.

Natan79 says:

No it’s not imbecile. Study the laws.

Natan79 says:

Neturei Karta, traitors with mental problems. They helped carry attacks on Israelis.

Natan79 says:

You mean you don’t like Ernest Hemingway because he joined the Italian army?

Joseph Kelsall says:

Natan – I’ve heard it all before. If you see a wisp trouble you’ll be back on the plane to Williamsburg, Brooklyn with the rest of your brave countrymen. Maasalama

Germany’s citizenship legislation is not analogous to Israel’s. Try reading Art. 116 of the FRG basic law and consider how it’s different from the Israeli Law of Return.
http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_gg/englisch_gg.html#p0720

Maybe you’ll turn out to have some reading comprehension. I’m not going to bother waiting.

Mitch Bacharach says:

You’ll get used to it Talia.

ned jacobson says:

Please answer this Question Binyamin: Would you have a different opinion if the “pea-shooter projectiles” were more successful in killing Israeli citizens?

While I am sure you feel scared and confused and you have the right to, I think it’s outrageous that you portray yourself as the victim here. While you have shelters to run to whenever it gets “hairy”, CIVILIANS (who unlike you didn’t volunteer to do anything or to be part of this war) on the other side in Gaza are getting killed in their own houses with no place to run to. Not only are they mostly civilians, they are mostly children. And if Israel doesn’t target them then how do they magically end up dead? ha?
And these people have the right to defend themselves against the heinous crimes that your people are committing against them on daily basis. So just don’t play the victim when you’re the criminal here.

Binyamin says:

Daveed: Do you realize how much you sound like Bin Laden?

Farah, unfortunately you’ve got it the wrong way round. It’s simple – no rockets, no Israeli response. No terrorizing of Israeli civilians – no Gaza civilians harmed. Simple – huh? And if we’re already at it: The Hamas feel it’s there godsend right to lob missiles at Israel? No problem, but first make sure that your own populace has some kind of protection. Heinous crimes? Tell me about them. Hamas has had the Gaza Strip all to themselves for 7 years and received hundreds of millions of dollars in aid during that period. What have they accomplished? Have they established anything resembling a functioning state (except for probably improved directing of the traffic)? Of course not. They’ve spent the money on developing missiles and buying weapons. So please spare me the heartbreaking moaning about Gaza’s tough deal. It’s self-inflicted. Turn your gaze inwards to Gaza and try and drum some sense into the minds of the people running the place.

Natan79 says:

You were a cretin yesterday you are cretin today. half of European states have laws of return. Maybe you’ll have some reading comprehension when you’ read other languages than the one in which you say Heil Hitler.

Natan79 says:

I am not from Williamsburg, you little British shit. Your grandparents’ country sold half of Europe to Hitler’s Nazi Germany and now you want to do the same thing? Well, we Israelis don’t care about you, you little fucking appeaser. The internet is full of your anti-Semitic filth. Maybe you’ll have a heart attack when you despair that we shit on your thoughts, Mr. Joe Kelsall, especially on these days when you go with your Hezbollah terrorist friends or put that special Joseph Kelsall bomb in a London subway – before Scotland yard gets you.

Joseph Kelsall says:

Natan 79 – Thank you for your kind regards. I admire the sentiments by which you appear to be motivated: Mazel Tov!

Natan79 says:

Thank you very much Joseph Kelsall. I am great believer in reciprocity. To someone like yourself who wants my country destroyed and who supports anti-Jewish terrorism of the most murderous variety, that is the proper wish. Glad your recognized it.

Now you may continue plotting your Munich du jour, maybe you’ll appease some Nazi dictator making some faraway country pay for it. The world knows that British specialty of yours, that special fondness for violent louts on someone else’s expense. Czechs, Poles, Jews, yeah we all know it.

Joseph Kelsall says:

‘Mycountry’? Which country wouldt that be? A stolen land under military occupation? My sentiments were echoed by Bertrand Russell:
The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was “given” by a foreign Power to another people for the creation of a new State. The result was that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were made permanently homeless. With every new conflict their number have increased. How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty?

Andrew says:

Wow compared to normal news stories from the region, where you get the same crop Goebbels brand talking points banged out to the umpteenth time in the manner he prescribes by the radical left,this is down right vicious. Then again, we can’t have anyone upsetting perfect stereotype that most liberals have about IDF soldiers or else your consciences might just make you question all the Nazi hate speech you put out.

Natan79 says:

You are not a closet nazi. You are an open Nazi Islamist.

Natan79 says:

You might lose your citizenship of Al-Qaida when they find out you write comments at a Jewish magazine site.

oahutree says:

I commend her for her service and making a decision to take a drastic change of course in her life. The experience will be like none other and will give her depth of character and the ability to assault future challenges with a unique set of skills. Of course she could have joined the U.S. Army, or Marines, and help to fight tyranny and evil on a daily basis.

I understand that certain things transcend nationality.

It would be extremely interesting to understand the indoctrination and entry processes – the back story – and all that was done to attain weapons proficiency, customs and courtesies, and a basic grasp of terminology and culture.

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