Thursday, September 2, 2010

Heliborne Revisited

Once upon a time in the winter of 1967-68, we were visited by some aunts and uncles from America. For whatever reason they were staying at the Intercontinental Hotel on the Mount of Olives, in East Jerusalem (these days it's called something else), where we went to visit them. I guess we joined them in the dining room. There must have been issues of kashrut, but I was a kid and don't remember how they were resolved. At one point an uncle asked the waiter to bring him a shrimp fork. The waiter, a respectable looking middle aged man, looked him in the eye and sincerely informed him that during the recent war the Israeli soldiers had stolen all the shrimp forks. The uncle found this amusing, and wondered how come they hadn't stolen any of the other utensils as well; if I'm not mistaken the answer had something to do with shrimp forks being a novelty for Israeli soldiers so they had stolen only them - but I can't swear to that part of the story.

The moral of the story: you don't have to believe everything folks tell you merely because they look you in the eye and seem sincere.

Late last year as I was reading the Goldstone Report I occasionally commented on its more outlandish tall tales. One of these was about the IDF troops who parachuted out of helicopters onto Palestinian roofs, the proof of which was the small parachutes left behind and presented to the Commission by the locals. I wrote about this here, and a few readers commented that contrary to what I thought, they had actually heard that such a technology does exist, even if its application in Gaza seemed far-fetched.

The other day I ran into an acquaintance who should know about such matters. He's in his early 40s, a career infantry officer, which means he has spent 25 years knowing everything possible about his profession. He is now a full colonel. It occurred to me to try the story on him.

His draw dropped. No, he'd never heard of such a thing, nor did he see the sense to it, since helicopters can fly low enough for troops to jump unaided; on the other hand, the idea of using parachutes next to helicopter rotors seemed insane to him.

I told him Goldstone must know better than he.


peterthehungarian said...

What Goldstone achieved is that probably Israel won't make any serious compromises giving up land close to important strategic assets like the Ben-Gurion airport and cities like Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, Kfar Saba etc. He successfully proved that after turning over the responsibility for security to the Palestinians and things will get out of Abbas' control (as they will undoubtedly) then Israel won't have internationally accepted right to defend itself. After the failure of the talks the world and especially Iran, Hamas and the ideologically motivated uncompromising settlers should say a big thank you to Goldstone.

Rabbi Tony Jutner said...

The reason that you people get so agitated by Goldstone is because for the first time, a prominent Jewish jurist has acknowledged that a war crime does not have a right to defend itself. The creation of israel in 1948 was a war crime, not the creation of a legitimate state. Now, a Jew has acknowledged what the rest of the world already knows. The zionist experiment has gone too far and has earned us the opprobrium of the world. It is time to abandon zionism in favor of NewJudaism

Barry Meislin said...

O Tony, why don't you just go jump out of a helicopter with a parachute....

Anonymous said...

Mr. Jutner once more not in shape

seriously unfunny just won't do

if you write nonsense the minimum you owe me is a chuckle

Anonymous said...

i am from san francisco, and i know the great rabbi jutner very well.

most days you can see him learning b'chavrusah with the pigeons in union square.