Nameless War

The current war is still nameless.

Israel’s first war was aptly named the War of Independence, as it erupted with Israel’s declaration of independence on May 14, 1948. The Six Day War was obviously named post mortem. The Yom Kippur War was named after the day it started, the holiest day of the Jewish year (although the Arab world prefers to call it The October War). The Lebanon War was the second name given to the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon; originally it was called Peace for Galilee but as Israel mired itself deeper and it became achingly obvious that peace in the Galilee was no longer the aim, the name was changed.

So what to call the current war? Some suggest to call it the “ad kan” war, after Olmert’s words in his speech to the Knesset this week, when he banged his fist on the podium and exclaimed “no more” or “this is where we draw the line” in Hebrew. The Israeli poet Haim Hefer suggested to call it simply “boom”. (Side note: I’ve never liked Hefer’s poems; isn’t it obvious now why?)

My suggestion is to name it after the day it started, which was the 17th of Tammuz in the Jewish calendar (July 13th, 2006). Appropriately, the 17th of Tammuz is a day of fasting, in remembrance of several tragedies that befell the Jewish people over the ages, most notably the breaching of Jerusalem’s walls during the siege of Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.E. which eventually brought to the destruction of the First Temple.


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