We invite you to view a slice of ordinary/extraordinary life in Israel in this video.
Be’er Sheva is an ancient/modern desert city that most people visit, if they ever go there, because of its first-rateuniversity (Ben Gurion) and its hospital, one of the busiest in Israel. But like many forgotten places in various parts of the world, it’s also home for a certain number of people, nearly 200,000 of them.
Now that Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and practically every other Israeli community in the southern half of Israel have experienced the blood-chilling sound of air-raid sirens in the past three days (and in some places, many repeats of the experience), it may be interesting for people living far from here to see and hear what it feels like from the ground.
We don’t know the exact number, but the residents of Be’er Sheva have experienced dozens of incoming missile warnings since Wednesday night. The one captured in this video involves multiple rockets flying in from Gaza. Through the magic of videography, they appear here as floating fairy lights in an ink-black sea of heavens above the ground-level festivities of an ordinary shopping center.
Then one after another in rapid succession they are extinguished. The reality of what is happening is much less poetic, but astonishing when you pause to think about it: an anti-missile technology that did not exist anywhere in the world is now knocking these terrorist flying bombs out of the sky as the ordinary folk who are the actual targets of an attempt to kill them in quantities watch from below and quietly applaud.
It’s larger than life. But it’s life. Our life, for now.
This is the beautiful city of Shderot – it’s a quiet town filled with people who want the quieter life. They have been under attack for 12 years and counting. When they hear either an air raid siren or the announcement “Color Red” – they know they have 15 seconds to get to safety.
On Friday, it took us at least 15 seconds to move everyone from the dining room to the bomb shelter. 15 seconds. It’s taken you longer to read to this point in the post.
This is a video, taken yesterday by someone who was not very smart. I don’t want others to do the same and yet, it’s a wonderful opportunity to let you feel what it is like. Imagine your eyes were like the camera – searching the skies, looking, waiting. You know it is coming…and then the BOOM…that is so loud, the shock knocks the person down and we lose the picture – and then it comes back…look at two things at the end of the short clip.
First, look at how close it is to this person and second, notice that it is in the middle of a city. There is no military installation there – just a city, just people, who want to live in a quiet city that because of Gaza, hasn’t been really quiet in 12 years.
The IDF has dispersed warning leaflets above several locations in the Gaza Strip. This video is from Thursday, November 15, over Khan Yunis.
The Arabic leaflet reads: “Important announcement for the residents of the Gaza Strip: For your own safety, take responsibility for yourselves and avoid being present in the vicinity of Hamas operatives and facilities and those of other terror organizations that pose a risk to your safety. Hamas is once again dragging the region to violence and bloodshed. The IDF is determined to defend the residents of the State of Israel. This announcement is valid until quiet is restored to the region. Israel Defense Forces Command.”
In an interview with CNN last night, President Shimon Peres said that if “Gazan mothers want to sleep at night, they must understand that all mothers want to sleep at night” including Israeli mothers.
He also said that “no country in the world would agree” to being bombarded with rockets.
Here’s what Peres said in the Interview:
“There is a permissiveness, they will learn there is no permissiveness, to kill. And if they want to run their lives properly and … their people properly, they cannot be permissive in killing and shooting at us.”
“It’s not just killing. We cannot afford that a million mothers will not have a night’s sleep because they have to watch their babies [to make sure they will not] be hit by rockets.”
“No country in the world would agree to it. Without exception.”
“We shall try to stop it by all the means we can mobile and use. And We can.”
“We don’t think that we are defenseless. We are restrained. We don’t take initiatives. We are careful to respect human life and we shall be careful. But if they want that the Gazan mothers want to sleep at night. They must understand that all mothers want to sleep at night with their babies.”
Only three days ago, popular singer and songwriter Mordechai Werdyger, known by his thousands of Orthodox Jewish fans as Mordechai Ben David, or just MBD, shot and distributed a video clip depicting the destruction of his neighborhood, Sea Gate, at the southwestern tip of Brooklyn, NY, in an effort to raise awareness—and donations—to rebuild this once thriving Jewish community.
The video starts at MBD’s basement recording studio, which has been totaled by the flood of ocean water—noting that the water only reached up to the level where pictures of famous rebbes were hanging. MBD then goes out to the beach, walking over the broken slabs of asphalt and concrete, surveying the astonishing damage.
Now rumor has it that MBD has decided to move to Israel, where he has purchased an apartment in a 330-unit residential complex being built at the T’nuva Compound, in the neighborhood of Romema, Jerusalem.
In what appears in hindsight as nothing short of a stroke of prophecy, Jewish Press Online blogger Tzvi Fishman, a devoted advocate of Jewish immigration to Israel, has called on MBD and others just this week to turn the misfortune of Sandy into an opportunity:
“Brothers and sisters of New York and New Jersey– rebuild your washed-out communities in Israel! Mordechai Ben David, Avraham Fried, and Shwekey – we have beautiful recording studios in Israel, as dry as can be! Instead of coming here for concerts on Chol HaMoed Sukkot and Pesach, come here to live, and give your holiday concerts in Brooklyn instead! It’s a lot safer living in Israel!”
“There’s nothing like a photograph of an innocent child caught up in military conflict to elicit sympathy, rage, and at times, international intervention.
On a media stage far away from Hollywood, in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, where photographers gather every Friday to document repetitious scenes of Palestinian residents and international activists clashing with Israeli soldiers, Palestinian activists are placing their children in ever-more-visible roles. Unlike scenes in “Wag the Dog,” a black comedy, there’s nothing funny about parents exploiting their own children to score propaganda points in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Days later, photos of the distraught girls appeared in Australia’s Fairfax media outlets alongside a Page-1 article charging the Israeli army with the routine abuse of Palestinian children. “An Israeli soldier restrains a Palestinian girl crying over the arrest of her mother during a protest over land confiscation in al-Nabi Saleh,” stated one caption in the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.
Slamming the article’s “unnamed sources, hearsay and propaganda,” Philip Chester, president of the Zionist Federation of Australia, also charged that the Palestinian leadership “blatantly use[s] children” and “presents a fable where Israel’s curtailing of violence is tantamount to abuse of children.”
Chester was not specifically addressing the photographs of the appealing young Tamimi girls under the thumb of the Israeli military, but he may as well have been.
A’hd is the daughter of Narimen and Bassem, prominent activists in the Popular Resistance, and Marah’s father is Naji, another leader in the weekly demonstrations.
In other words, the girls’ parents are among those who determine the protests’ strategies. Rather than keeping their children at a safe distance from the often-violent clashes, the parents encouraged their children to play highly visible roles in the confrontation with the army.
Narimen is a participant in B’Tselem’s video project, in which the prominent Israeli NGO distributes video cameras to Palestinians to “present the reality of their lives to the Israeli and the international public.”
This is not the first time she has exploited children and distorted reality. In a 2011 video of the arrest of an 11-year-old stone-thrower, Narimen filmed as a Palestinian man instructed the boy’s mother not to join him on the police vehicle, even while Israeli authorities repeatedly asked her to board the van. Later media reports falsely claimed that the Israeli police forbade his parents from accompanying him.
Despite complaints about her cynical exploitation of Palestinian children in order to produce anti-Israel propaganda, Narimen has not stopped using children as props. To the contrary, she has since enlisted her own daughter.
In a 16-minute video posted on the Nabi Saleh Solidarity blog, the two girls can be seen leading a crowd marching toward a spring that the army has deemed off-limits. A’hd and Marah are filmed at length, cursing the soldiers and trying to get around them. Marah can be seen running some distance to approach and confront soldiers. And when Narimen and two other women are arrested, the girls refuse to let go, interfering with the arrests. An army spokesman later said that the detainees, who were held for a few hours, had been throwing rocks.”
Here’s a screen capture from the video.
Here’s photo taken that day promoted on pro-Palestinian sites.
The site where the photo was published, Nabi Selah Solidarity, added the following:
“The actions of A’hd Tamimi and Marah Tamimi, the two young girls who attempted to prevent the arrest of non-violent resistance leader Nariman Tamimi by Israeli Occupation Forces on Friday, was recognised on Monday. A’hd is the daughter of Nariman and Palestinian non-violent resistance leader Bassem Tamimi who was jailed for over year for leading the non-violent resistance in Nabi Saleh. Marah is the daugher of Naji Tamimi, another Nabi Saleh non-violent resistance leader who was also jailed for over a year for his non-violent opposition to Israel’s military occupation.”
But, the exploitation of the two girls has not ended.
“A video shot at a Friday protest in the village of Nabi Salih, in the central West Bank, captured a striking image: that of a young Palestinian girl [A'hd Tamimi] attempting to provoke Israeli soldiers. Soon thereafter the girl is joined by many other seemingly young-looking people from the village.
A senior IDF source told Ynet that intelligence indicates that pro-Palestinian activists pay Palestinian children from Nabi Salih and other nearby villages to confront the soldiers. “The soldiers are briefed on the fact that these protests are staged for the sake of provocation, so that they could be filmed acting violently and so that those videos could be distributed worldwide in an effort to harm the IDF’s image,” the officer said.
According to Ynet, Abir Kubati, spokesperson of the popular protest coordination committee, said: “I don’t understand what the army wants – they send soldiers into a Palestinian village and then dare to depict themselves as victims because the residents don’t welcome them.”
“You’re a traitor! I know you speak Arabic. Our soldiers are stronger than you! I’ll smash your head,” the 10-year-old girl is heard in the video screaming at the soldier in Arabic, according to a translation provided by Ynet.”
Placing innocent Palestinian children in potentially dangerous situations, cynically hoping for a media coup stemming from any overreaction by IDF soldiers, is indeed shameful.
However, such provocations by the Tamimis pale in comparison to an antisemitic Palestinian political culture which consistently sends messages to their youth that martyrdom – dying, or even murdering Israeli Jews, to advance the Palestinian cause – is one of the most important political values they should aspire to.
Here are a few clips of chilling child abuse, routinely sanctioned by Palestinian society, which the Guardian won’t report.