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Editor's Special Report A Day Before War Breaks Out : A War on Terror or Tuna?

On Terror or on Tuna?

by Rhonda Spivak, July 8, 2014

[Overnight after this article was written, Hamas sent 40 rockets into Israel, deeper than before.]

Two days ago I was on the phone with a professional videographer making plans for him to come up to Netanya form Tel-Aviv?
 
"Ok, I'll see you tomorrow," I said, "Unless war breaks out."
 
He laughed, "Yes, if war breaks out, I may not come. We'll postpone it...to next week."
 
Shortly afterward, I received an email from a reader in Winnipeg, telling me the situation here is precarious.
 
I agree with him that between Arab rioting in various parts of the country, the arrest of a group of Jewish teenage soccer thugs who are suspected of a grisly murder of a 16 year old Palestinian boy as a revenge attack for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens by Hamas, as well as rockets pounding Southern Israel as far as Be'er Sheva , and Israeli reprisals from the air, the situation here has begun to feel increasingly precarious. It's possible Netanyahu will order  a wider ground invasion of Gaza and then there will really be war.
 
The reader who emailed me asked if I knew where my nearest bomb shelter was. My nearest bomb shelter is right outside my apartment on my floor. It's shelter for my family and my neighbors, a family who immigrated here from France, who speak more French than Hebrew. (They own a hotel and restaurant in Paris and the husband travels back and forth to manage the business there).  For a second I began thinking that maybe I should pick up a French Hebrew dictionary just in case we have to cosy up in the bomb shelter together.
 
Then not long ago I received a call from Timothy Bratwold, the Winnipeg Jewish Review's correspondent in the West Bank, who thinks that increasingly it's beginning to look like there could be war.  "Things appear to be heating up. Hamas has said that they can send missiles all the way to Netanya. You know that don't you?"
 
In response I say, "Yes, I know that." But if they get to Netanya that means that they'll have already gotten to Tel-Aviv and by then all hell will have already broken loose."
 
“Well, don't worry," Tim says. "If war breaks out, you could come here...to the West Bank, near the Hebron area. Hamas won't be sending missiles here. They don't want to hit the Palestinians."
 
"Yes, but I could get kidnapped getting to you, that is if I managed to avoid getting caught in any riots in East Jerusalem. I think I'll stay here. I like a bomb shelter by the sea. And anyway, on Sunday I have friends Gigi and Ron coming up here from Ashkelon who are staying overnight. And I suppose if things really heat up and Ashkelon is pounded, maybe they could decide to stay longer.  (Although Ron says he hates Netanya since the traffic is so bad compared to Ashkelon, where  no doubt the traffic will be much lighter if war breaks out and everyone is in their bomb shelters.)

 

I remember that I told Ron that he could work on drinking the unopened bottle of vodka (Russian Standard) that I have in my apartment left over from my children’s B'nei Mitzvah two summers ago.

 

"Just to let you know that vodka is fine but I would prefer Chevis Regal (Blended Scotch Whisky)," Ron said.

 

"Yeah but you finished that off last summer. I only have a few drops of the Chevis Regal left. And I wasn't intending to buy another bottle until one of the kids get married. You'll have to make do with the vodka."

 

But then when I hung up the phone after speaking to Ron, it hit me that maybe I should go out and get another bottle of the Chivas Regal... just in case war breaks out. Chevis Regal is probably a good thing to have on hand in case of an impending war. If war breaks out, there's no point skimping, is there?

 
In between the phone calls   I made a mental note to check to see that my bomb shelter is actually open, since I really haven't paid much attention to it since the Israel-Hamas war in the summer of 2006 when I was in the country. Well, I checked and it turns out the shelter is locked. (It's on my to-do list to ask my neighbors where the key is to unlock it, if there is such a key.)

 

Then I speak to another journalist who suggests that since I'm here in Israel it might be a good idea to be a real war correspondent and  go down to Sderot and cover the rocket attacks there. 

 

"I can't . I'm going to the Ha'aretz Peace Conference in Tel-Aviv tomorrow."

 

We both laugh at my answer. The notion of my being unable to cover the war because I have to cover the Ha'aretz newspaper's  Peace conference strikes us as rather ironic.

 

"What's the point of going to Ha'aretz's Israel Conference on peace.  There's not going to be peace," my colleague says.

 

“Yes, even Ha'aretz must know that by now, I imagine.”

 

My colleague adds "Not only that but Saeb Erekat, the head of the Palestinian negotiation team in peace talks with Israel, announced over the weekend that he will not be attending Haaretz's Israel Conference on Peace. Erekat said that his decision was made out of respect to the feelings of the Palestinian people and his pain over the developments of the last few days.  Similarly Palestinian businessman Munib al-Masri also announced that he would not be attending the conference."

 

"Ok ," I respond. So what if there are no Palestinians at the peace conference. Maybe at least the food between sessions will be good, (assuming there is food between sessions). At the last peace conference I was at in Tel-Aviv there were cookies and desserts. And furthermore,  even if I don't learn anything at the peace conference, I still am going to go since I have arranged to meet some friends for lunch  at a  good restaurant , Manta Ray, on the beach in Tel-Aviv  right near the conference. (Already I am wondering if we should ask for a table near the exit in case war breaks out and we need to leave suddenly before the meal has arrived.)

 

As I left my apartment yesterday to go for a walk on the beach I noticed 6 cans of Star Kist tuna in oil sitting on my kitchen counter-30 shekels worth.  This is an unqualified disaster. I hate tuna in oil. I like only tuna in water.

 

I am about to get rid of the tuna in oil, by taking it outside and feeding it to the stray cats around the neighborhood.

 

But then I remember what Amos my Israeli carpenter/floorer said in 2006 during the Israel-Hamas war when I began clea

 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


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