Fearing attacks against Israelis abroad, the Israel Defense Forces issued new orders this morning (article in Hebrew) instructing soldiers on vacation to refrain from ordering room service so as to avoid being cornered alone in their rooms by terrorists. This is sound policy, but it doesn’t go far enough. Being a renowned counter-terrorism expert (and former Israeli soldier), here are a few other safety measures traveling Israeli soldiers should consider.
• Beware the Spa. There’s no better time to attack an unsuspecting soldier than when he’s lying on his back in the middle of a Swedish hot rock massage or indulging in a rejuvenating grapefruit peel facial. When attending spas abroad, the IDF’s finest should take care to cover only one eye with a cucumber slice, using the other one to scope out members of Hezbollah masquerading as attractive, New-Agey masseuses.
• Forget About the Breakfast Buffet. Few places are more dangerous than the breakfast room. While a paratrooper, say, stands in line for scrambled eggs or a custom-made omelette, he could easily be attacked by an Al Qaeda goon in a tall chef’s hat wielding a pancake maker in one hand and really hot batter in the other. IDF soldiers are therefore instructed to limit their intake to those small boxes of cereal nobody really ever eats.
• Gift Shop = Danger. Imagine this scenario: a kind colonel, contemplating buying a five-dollar bottle of water, is surprised from behind by a bearded Hamasnik armed with a copy of the weekend International Herald Tribune. Those things are heavy and can cause serious injuries.
• Don’t Even Think About In-Room Entertainment. Prolonged stays in fancy hotel rooms get very boring, and soldiers may be tempted to purchase overpriced movies on their televisions. This can turn out to be a deadly mistake: what a soldier believes to be a wholesome American classic like Paul Blart: Mall Cop can in fact be a propaganda film, cunningly edited by the Muslim Brotherhood and containing subliminal messages about Jihad being awesome. Soldiers should take extra care and watch nothing but that channel you get when you first turn on your TV that tells you all about the hotel and its lousy restaurants.