Bleary eyed and full of bladder I stagger down to my studio to browse the news feed to discover what is happening to my friend, Israel. Nothing. My newsreader that collects almost every English speaking newsfeed in the Middle East was barren.
Odd, I think. Then I remember. It is late Shabbat afternoon there, and the observant news sources will not be posting for another four hours. I remember the passage that Israel recites when it goes to war. Oyeychah it is called, and it comes from the start of the passage “When you go out (to war)“. You probably hear it in its shortened form when Jewish women discuss their family trials and tribulations. “Oy!”
It is a curious passage that first excuses men who have just married from the warriors. Then it excuses men who are too terrified to fight. There are a few more excuses, but these are the main two. By the time all the excusing is made, the warriors are down to 1/3 strength.
Same with Israel. 40,000 regulars and 18,000 reservists, yet it is likely less that 10,000 are actually in Gaza right now. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t more ready to take on HAMAS, and probably doesn’t include Navy and Air Force personnel who go in, then quickly leave. Still, urban warfare is a treacherous deal. The worst of Europe’s casualties in WWII was in urban fighting.
Israel is an expert in urban strategy, and advised the US when we went into Fallujah, Iraq. The enemy had kill lanes and other traps to degrade an attacking enemy, and so the coalition forces went in the hard way, through the buildings rather than the streets, and won over a shocked enemy.
Good thoughts for a peaceful Shabbat morning, eh?
The sun is out in bright yellows and vibrant greens after the welcome rains. The land responds guardedly after several years drought. In some ways the drought is good in that it forces the vegetation to go deeply into the soil. It wasn’t enough for some of my trees and shrubs, and my front walkway has been cleared of flowering plantings and such. I must adapt the realities of climate here. It has always been a land of fierce droughts followed by short periods of even fiercer flooding.
I have a half hour of coffee sipping left before showering and preparing to leave for services this morning. I am going to spend it watching a mocking bird try to confuse a cardinal.