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Translation: Who's Volunteering To Die?


Two days ago I posted out a cartoon from Ha'aretz showing the Israeli reaction to the assassination of Sheikh Yassin. It showed a couple looking most watching the news. Their reaction to the news is of extreme apprehension and their first question is "where are the kids?" They don't them anywhere where crowds are gathered. It's simply not safe.

I didn't get much of a reaction, those who got back to me didn't think it was funny at all. My apologies If I had misled anyone to think it was funny. Like other effective cartoons (eg the SMH's Warsaw Ghetto- separation Wall comparison) it got its message across (at least to Israelis) but was not funny.

That cartoonist, Daniela, was spot on. All reports suggest that shopping centres which would normally be overflowing a fortnight before the Passover are empty. So are the cinemas and cafes. Instead of bringing security and peace for Israel, so far the Yassin assassination has brought only fear and apprehension. (maybe I am immersed too much in Israeli web sites to think too much like an Israeli but to me the message was clear cut.)

Other commentators were even more bitter in their comments. Yael Masheli in Y-net suggested that those who cheer and gloat at the "liquidation" of Yassin should offer themselves as the price.

I am told by a friend who ought to know that there are many in the mainstream Jewish community in this country who also cheer and gloat. If Hamas does extend its revenge to Jewish communities overseas perhaps they ought to take up Masheli's message to heart.

- Sol Salbe

The Independent Middle East Information Service is generously sponsored by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society


Translator's notes: The author here uses the word "hisul" for assassination. This is the term used in about half the references in the Israeli media. My dictionary gives the definition of "elimination, putting an end to, liquidation (of a company)." However this is the term that Hebrew speakers use as the equivalent for the mafia jargon for killing. Its use has been extended to the IDF's assassinations. It may jar an Australian ear, but it does convey the tone used.

Hebrew doesn't use vowels. Until advised by my sources in Israel, I am guessing that Yael's surname is Masheli rather than Mashali etc. Sol Salbe


Who's volunteering to die?

Yael Masheli

Sharon is looking for volunteers. He is seeking people who endorse Yassin's liquidation, who salute and cheer the wisdom of the Prime Minister and who "are willing to pay the price". He's looking for volunteers who are willing to pay the price not in some theoretical way, nothing political or ideological, but in real hard currency.

So you with the smile on your face from this morning's news, can you tell us how much is Yassin's liquidation worth? One hundred people? A thousand? Go on, pick them one by one and bring them to the Prime Minister's office. I would recommend that in order to maintain your credibility you start with yourselves and your nearest and dearest. So that's you and your wife, children, parents, brothers and sisters. With a bit of luck that would make around fifteen, which is no way near the mark. Don't worry, there are plenty more like you. I am positive that they too will volunteer and line up with their spouses and kids to board the buses that will take you all to Gaza. The transport is just about to leave.

We've decided to streamline the process, and with your kind assistance make life easier for everyone. We've had enough of the uncertainly and random nature of the bombings and other attacks. Seeing that the price is more or less known in advance (you could almost say it is built in to the liquidation), we can forego the state of readiness in Haifa, Hadera, Jerusalem and the various checkpoints and passageways. As soon as a liquidation takes place, we will take you to Hamas and tell them that you are the price, that you understand the process and consent to it. If they get stroppy and argue that the price is too low, then it will be no problem to recruit a few more volunteers. There are so many who appreciate and rejoice at the liquidation. They are all "willing to pay the price". As they say, "there is no other option" and "the bombing would not have ceased but for the liquidation". Naturally they reaffirm the mantra that "anyone who believes that the Arabs can understand any other language is an idiot." So please hurry up - don't miss your bus!

There are a few items you could consider while in transit. Our road safety authority tells us that on the road it's better to be clever than correct. That rule applies to life and not just on the road. Even if Sheikh Yassin should face death (and that's my opinion), there's no real rush to put us in the same position. Every day many of us face death, and not only figuratively speaking. It is not the case that the conflict necessitates the dynamics, but the dynamics necessitate the conflict.

But even if we have to kill him and a few others as collateral damage, timing also has to be taken into consideration. Wouldn't it have been worth it to wait till after the Gaza withdrawal and see how things panned out? Couldn't we wait till after the approaching Passover? Doesn't our quality of life count? Kids, parents, traders and others who were looking forward to a relatively optimistic holiday period - can now all thank the PM for a menacing, taxing, depressing and fearful holiday that he has granted us.

After Passover we could have waited until Independence Day and Rosh Hashanah and so on, and in the meantime, look for another option.

But you don't believe that another option exists. As always, you affirm that you are "willing to pay the price". So if you are genuine and not just saying it, and you don't mean somebody else's child rather than your own, will you then turn up to the PM's office with your nearest and dearest and offer your services? This time the price is you. While you are at it, I suggest you ask Sharon to join you.


Yael Masheli is a regular opinion writer with Ynet - the website associated with Yediot Acharonot. Translated by Sol Salbe.

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