04 March 2016

Facebook without borders: reflections from South Lebanon


During a recent drive along the Lebanese border with Israel, I posted a photograph to Facebook taken from the south Lebanese town of Adaisseh. Facebook immediately asked if I wanted to specify the location as “Misgav Am, Hazafon, Israel.”

In addition to spawning a temporary panic attack, as generally happens when I am confronted with the inescapability of Big Brother, Facebook also piqued my curiosity. Once I had retrieved my laptop from where I had flung it in fright, I Googled the name and found that the top two suggested searches were “Misgav Am kibbutz” and “Misgav Am terrorist attack.” I went with the latter.

According to a dispatch from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) dated 9 April 1980, three Israelis had been killed the previous day during an assault on the kibbutz nursery by five Palestinian commandos from Lebanon, who were themselves all subsequently killed. The Israeli victims included a soldier and a two-and-a-half-year-old child.

Then-Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s views on the matter were quoted as follows: “Evil men who are bent on the destruction of Israel carried out this barbaric crime.” Incidentally, the article notes, Begin’s assessment was issued “as he received the Stephen Wise Award from an American Jewish Congress leadership mission visiting Jerusalem.”

Begin and other top Israeli officials attended the funeral in Misgav Am for the child and one of the other victims. According to the JTA, the words of poet Chaim Nachman Bialik were invoked at the service—and translated less-than-poetically by the news agency as: “Even Satan has not yet invented revenge for a little child’s blood.”

But if Satan hadn’t gotten around to it yet, others surely had. Since the foundation of the state of Israel more than three decades earlier, the Israelis had carved out a name for themselves in the massacre business—dispensing with children and older humans alike—under the pretense of responding to Arab aggression. READ MORE AT WARSCAPES.