It’s finally up. “BLINDFIRE” is a concept short story I have used for experimentation with imagery, and it is only in its first stages of development. Why I am posting such a rough copy is to receive readers’ criticism, just for the sake of opinion. I hope you enjoy it!
“—Gideon, this is Shofar Bet, we have rocket…”
“…Come in, Shofar Bet, over.”
“..—different strikes, but we have lost… three in our column. Over.”
“Please repeat that Shofar Bet.”
“…we are under attack by jihadists in Zar’it, over.”
“Affirmative Shofar Bet. Are there any wounded?”
(NORTHERN ISRAEL, NEAR ZAR’IT)
“Negative. We lost one humvee and there is heavy grenade—grenade fire; squad is slowly clambering towards down humvee, over.”
(08:56AM IDT, 12 JULY 2006)
“Zealot down. Hold—”
“…Gideon, two have been taken into enemy captivity. [We] cannot pursue, there is too much foliage and rocket fire. Over.”
“Copy. Sending a Chariot and Bitch into Lebanon. Waiting on the Lieutenant Colonel’s command. Hold fast, Shofar Bet. Over.”
“Copy; we are sitting ducks. Anything happening outside of here?”
“Shofar Bet, rockets have been fired onto Shlomi and Zar’it. We have no reports of casualties at this time.”
“We’—we need to go into Lebanon, now. We have lost two in captivity, and another at the border.”
“Shofar Bet, wait on Lieutenant Colonel’s order,”
Until the sultry morning of July 12, 2006, Israel was a caged Lion. Repeated threats and sanctions against the Israeli state by the United Nations, the kidnapping of eighteen year-old armored corps officer Gilad Shalit on June 25, the ensuing summer war in Gaza continuing unto no foreseeable end; violence has already chiseled its spark within the heart of a tantalizing anger and fear provoking the nation into a current panic. While the Defence Forces (IDF) push into occupying Gaza City on the opposite end of the Jewish milieu, Hezbollah initiates a surprise attack on the northern border of Israel, coining the operation Freedom for Samir Al-Quntar and His Brothers, which takes two hostages and kills one in his selfless attempt to pursue the terrorist captors.
The Lion is freed.
09:00-09:30AM IDT?, 12 JULY 2006
Death carries a familiar sting. An exhaustion more than a pain, the physics of being peppered with shrapnel through the chest muscles from an unknown instrument of war somehow remains the least of your worries. The blood that stains the uniform with wet heat sooths the mind as the heart endures a mother’s pain within; the heavy wistfulness of losing your body which was so painstakingly labored and raised tears barbarically at the emotions while losing more life through hasty bullet holes, and taunting, numbing shock.
Ehud Goldwasser flexes his cold fingers against the warm pool spilling over his olive shirt while fighting the greatest mental battle he has ever felt and endured. It has been such a good morning… it is only five more hours until home… Ehud and his partner, Eldad, were leading a convoy of two armored Humvees adjacent the border of Lebanon in the outskirts of the remote town of Zar’it, when in sight of a Lebanese settlement on a hill across the Blue Line, their group was shot at; that is all Ehud can recollect, albeit the intense pain in his armpits from being dragged out of his molten vehicle, and hearing bullets jostle by while struggling against unconsciousness. …Eldad.
Ehud chokes in a silent coughing fit as blood surges into his mouth; the corrosive taste of iron numbs his tongue, strikes fear into his chest, causing his faint heart to beat faster, and in turn, blood to brim quicker in his minute jaw and over his wet lips. He closes his eyes and wishes for sleep, and to wake up next to his wife Karnit, of whom he was due to be reunited with in a matter of hours during his final day of duty. But if he sleeps, he knows that he will die. And if he dies, there will be nothing left.
Ehud musters as much strength as he can until the thoughts of sleeping in bed next to Karnit disappear. He wonders instead of the intense medical bill his wounds will cost, and where lies his possibly deceased partner, Eldad Regev. No, not dead. The hot room he lies in is too dark to see around. He can hear pipes sibilating above him, or possibly an air draft… and voices intrude his fragile ears every few moments that drag on for what seem like hours in between each surge of aching death. He knows that he is not in Israel anymore. He cannot hear what the people are speaking, but Ehud suspects that he is captured, and that those muffled voices are in Arabic; the whining resonance and accents in their shouting almost confirms this. He does not know what time it is, but Ehud nervously estimates that it has not been more than a half hour since he was taken away.
Ehud suddenly hears a heavy vibration while the concrete ground begins to rattle in minuscule tremors beneath his numb buttocks. The quiet, muffled voices coming from an undecided corner of the room slowly stops. Ehud feels his pants becoming wet, and rolls his hand over the stickiness that stains his uniform. Ehud knows that he is bleeding heavily. He begins to lose his hearing, his sight, his determination, his breath. Nausea replaces his consciousness as the First Sergeant falls faint in this sick, dark room.
09:16AM IDT, 12 JULY 2006
The hastily formed force of the Chariot battle tank, Cruel Woman armored personnel carrier, and UH-1 gunship treads the bleak scenery into the pivot of Lebanese no man’s land. In no way do the naïve congregate of sheltered servicemen expect what hell they are driving into, do not know how to handle whatever it is they are presumed to encounter, and do not know by what act of assumed terrorism impelled Lieutenant Colonel Ishai Efroni to order such a heavily armed patrol to aggressively scale the Blue Line into the fog of enemy lands.
It is not the Merkava (Chariot) Mk. II’s first incursion into Lebanon since the 1982-2000 Occupation, but for its crew, it is an experience as unfamiliar as when they were in diapers taking their first steps towards their Ima and Aba. Except it would seem now, in a discomforting new procession, they were solely driving toward their one Abba; death was their decider.
The Merkava carries a crew of four members:
Sergeant Yaniv Baron, the tank’s gunner.
Sergeant Gadi Musayeb, the tank’s commander.
First Lieutenant Shlomi Yirmiyahu, the tank’s driver.
Sergeant Alexei Kushnirsky, the tank’s loader.
All four crewmembers are silent, maledictive in their musings and nervousness as they ride against the whining hydraulics of the aging, twenty-year old armored monstrosity and the confusing colloquy of battle commanders shouting and contemplating out loud over radio.
The gunner, Sergeant Yaniv Baron, looks through his cannon’s scope agitated as his sweaty palms pollute the plastic surface of the cannon’s controls and rustic stalk. The prattle of Ishai’s voice bellows in portions over-aware of the morning’s tantalizing events that have crippled Israel’s unsuspecting military guard of the northern plains. After a few impatient moments in eager waiting, the Lieutenant Colonel’s voice finally speaks to the Merkava’s Commander.
“Baram-Arba, we have lost three zealots; two are missing. Repeat, Hezbollah has captured two of our own–”
Debriefing peers interrupt the Lieutenant Colonel’s voice, as the tank’s whines grow incredibly distant from the soldiers’ observant and wishful ears.
“…they are in Ayta a-Shaab. Go there now.”
Immediately, the hope of any false alarm is decimated, as the confirmation of Prisoners of War becomes a chilling reality for the already shaking men and their naïve congregate.
Commander Yigal Gad gazes down and repeats the look of stilled caprice as he finds on his gunner’s face. He shouts immediately after the Lieutenant Colonel finishes his orders.
“Yirmi, move this load faster!” commands the tank’s captain.
“Son of a whore,” mutters Gad, “let’s just blow these sand niggers to pieces so we can all return home today.” he whispers to himself, aware that Yaniv, of a devout and discerning Orthodox family, can hear every word he says. The frustration is mutual. What is supposed to be their last day of reserve duty has become an incursion into hell.
An angry Alexei Kushnirsky recites D’varim 33:27 as his hands clasp the rattling phosphorous rounds of the tank’s arching storage racks.
The eternal Name is your refuge, and His everlasting arms are under you. He drives out the enemy before you; He cries out, ‘DESTROY THEM.’
??:?? IDT, 12 JULY 2006?
Ehud stares into the bistre spheres of Karnit’s comforting gaze. He hears no music, but still holds his iPod Video he received from his friend Boaz as an engagement present during his last semester at the Technion. No, not music, but he hears Karnit. He hears her smile, he hears her eyes, he hears her love, her heart. Ehud sees the bedroom curtains of their Nahariya home behind her countenance as he reaches out with now bare hands to cusp her face, and to kiss her.
Intimacy replays in his sights. He hears her embrace, he is somehow hearing their nakedness, clothed only for what seems like seconds prior. He sees his brother, Yair, and walks with him along South Africa’s illustrious cape as they boat along the cobalt waves under the luminance of the setting Atlantic sun. He sees Israeli jeeps in convoy along that coast, and Yair drives in command of the convoy, smiling and waving, and focusing back on the road as Karnit takes Ehud’s hand again, bestowing a convicting look of discontentment, which bears right through her husband.
There is a long silence. Karnit begins to scream as Ehud wakes up to the hissing of the pipes above him in the now darker, colder room he has fallen unconscious in. His armpits are being chaffed again. He feels warmth and coldness all around his body as he tries to feel and guess what is happening.
He tries to talk, but he cannot.
He feels the stench of another man’s voice breathing down on his muddy ears.
He feels himself throw up, naturally, without recoil, onto his chin and down his numb neck.
He hears combustions around the room, but cannot see.
Ehud is being taken out of the room, and cannot perceive nor hear it happen.
He is blind.
The screams return. The hissing.
Ehud’s mind is alive, but his body is not. At least, he knows it will not be much longer. Scarring visions react to his thoughts.
He stands in vast, cathedral-like space, a long-dead rabbi from his teenage years of the Cape chanting to him ambiguous verses in the Talmud.
The ranting is almost tongue-like, and not understood. The rabbi opens his eyes, and a dark presence spots the wounded boy from a convicting subsidence of black eyes and a cunning nose evoking strict fear and compliance.
“Speak the Name.”
The boy feels tears, and wearily opens his mouth to speak.
Immediately the boy is taken by severe fear; his eyes flashing and his visions stricken with brilliant images of fire and words; as if a scroll was enveloped in nonsensical flames colored green, and red, and yellow. The screaming is intense, and Ehud wakes from his dream to find that the screams and choking are coming from another voice in his room.
This scream and choking are Eldad’s last words… nothing more than noises, as the captors that Ehud cannot see in his blindness approach the man’s partner to beat him insufferably with the intent to hasten their sacrifice to Allah and Peleshet.
OUTSKIRTS OF BINT JBEIL, LEBANON
“SECOND LEBANON WAR”
05:04AM IDT, 25 JULY 2006
12 DAYS FOLLOWING THE ZAR’IT AMBUSH
The Lion is freed.
This is the thought Private Michael Ettinger fell asleep to in his unsettling camp of armed and ready fighters of the Golani Brigade’s 51st Battalion, and that is the thought he wakes up to three hours later with a heavy headache. He thinks that he hasn’t dreamt during his nap because of the uncommon reverie on obsessive repeat in his mind.
Bearing the ignorant megalomania of any killer ready to wage war under the following sunrise, Michel had a difficult trial in maintaining that anticipation while trying to fall asleep; the anticipation is most definitely lost as he is awaken by bellowing officers and the colonial twitters of morning birds roaring from the darkened valleys.
(Eight servicemen were killed during the initial attack on Israel, and two were captured. Three reservists were killed during the first ambush, one died in an attempt to pursue and rescue the dead bodies, and the aging Merkava Mk. II was destroyed as it drove over a landmine during its pursuit into Lebanon, killing all four crewmembers.)
Michel wraps his hands around the snug handle of his thermos, pausing to drink coffee as he passes lazy-eyed by tefillin-clad service boys as they recite their D’varim. He retrieves his M16A1 assault rifle and quickly joins a standing group of praying men. To Michel, it is difficult to pray to a merciful Name when he does not feel aligned in His graces, and when he knows that today, people will die because of the gun he now carries around his shoulder.
It is strange how much can change within a month. Despite the days of death that have separated the vanguard of conflict in Zar’it from this moment deep in Lebanese territory, Michel feels as if it was nothing more than a terrible, nightmarish day.
In a sentimental trance, the smell of exhaust keeps Michel’s sanity alive as he walks blindly in a single-file group of heavily armed olive-drab soldiers into historical oblivion; hereditary vengeance. Thinking how he must reminisce that his father walked the same grounds in 1982, however opposite Bint Jbeil along the coastline into Tyre, Michel cannot make sense or give meaning to the moment; he remembers his frustrated lover, Yalda, in Haifa as he struggles against the mental blocks, which have slowly grown throughout his chronological existence.
Sentiments numb under pressure, and in this case, the sound of bombs and the muffled, drunken flashes of artillery light in the hills kilometers ahead lock Michel in a habit of whispering faint promises in his mind to an uncertain epilogue.
I will live.
Much like the slow luminance of sunrise approaching day, do the members of ZaHal Golani Brigade’s 51st Battalion ‘C’ Company saunter near the brightening and intensifying firefight blooming into the outskirts of Bint J’beil, Lebanon.
Michel focuses on the antenna of the radioman ahead of him, Private Phineas Hanuman, swaying limply in the hazel sky flickering with the reflection of the sun sporadically in hallucinatory glints. The slow chatting of waking soldiers is broken by a humorous response.
“Harah, look who had a bad day…”
The scene of a smoldering Merkava tank flipped on its left side stands along the nearby hillside atop a throng of debris and rent matter; several idle photojournalists in AP vests and smoking soldiers stare blankly at Michel’s passing convoy as the group gawks in patronizing surprise at the sight, as if to shrug off the intimidating strength of their sacred-cause enemy. They narrowly saunter adjacent the likeness of a slain iron monster on the hillside road, and as if the monster were Gehenna’s concealing curtain, the town of Bint J’beil appears immediately ahead of the convoy upon their passing.
The sun casts a foreshadowing presence, bathing the smoke and causing rays to break through the plumes unto the swaying grass of the valley separating the hillside highway from the enthroned ruins. Crackles of killers’ machines emit in throttling booms felt beneath the ribs, and into the pit of the soldiers’ empty stomachs. Only a handful of the soldiers know that this is the heaviest Hezbollah stronghold in Lebanon.
The line hesitantly stops, and begins to cautiously scatter as the clouds of white smoke atop the hill dip into that valley they are about to descend and re-ascend. Silence, the most profound silence Michel has ever heard, somehow becomes the most fear-inducing sound he thinks he will forever remember. The first bullet strikes the broken road behind a row of four thoughtless soldiers leading the men, petrified with the imminent reality, staggering—now running—into an unknown outcome.
The poetry of paranoia beg for artillery fire to smother the high rise towers on the west bend of Bint J’beil, in the form of frantic cussing and panic filtered through static and white noise bleeps of a radio.
Captain Barak Avraham works tediously by holding a broken dial in its place on the radio of Private Hanuman, while he barks more confusing pleas into the busy handheld while trying to gain a fixed look at a Mosque’s tightly-enclosed towers in the city’s center; a sniper has the entire company hiding and waiting dangerously behind a crumbling market street.
“MINARET TOWER ON THE NORTHWEST END OF J’BEIL, DO YOU COPY RA’AM SHEBET (Thunder Rod)?”
“Negative Sela (Stone), there are too many civilians in the region. We will not engage, over.”
“FUCK IT. WE HAVE AN ENTIRE COMPANY PINNED DOWN AND YOU AREN’T GOING TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT?”
Michel stares at the distant yelling Captain while listening to the ambient cracks of the surrounding firefights, distinguishing futilely which rumbles were of the snipers. He is unconsciously discomforted hearing the hot-headed Captain, whose heavy personality augmented with his disregard for the civilians of the town make his leadership unwelcomed and possibly cursed in Michel’s eyes. He silently hopes deep down that his own actions do not stain him while involuntarily obeying the Captain’s panic and questionable responsibility.
Two F-15 fighter planes scream across the sky and are cut silent as they rush past over the heads of the Company and behind the market rooftops, preceded by a ground-throttling boom that takes every soldier out of their thousand-yard stares and erotic daydreaming.
Captain Avraham waits intently with his radio still clasped in his right hand, counting down mentally before peeking around the corner to survey the damage.
He sees a dark smoke cloud laced with the light of the afternoon sun billowing through the vista of houses and tenants he previously spotted the Minaret between, but after a few still moments of silence and clearing, he notices the tower still stands.
The planes have struck the wrong target.
Distant cries and screams start to erupt in the distance, echoing through the stone architecture of the labyrinth town, to the effect that the olive-dressed soldiers thought the crying was coming from multiple different directions.
The Captain’s flared eyebrows and demeaning scowl have retorted into a regretful stare of contrite regret. Guns fire from the place of the commotion and shouts begin to stifle the screams.
An anonymous warrior with a lisp sounds through on the radio with the same request in an opposite quadrant of the city; this time, the soldier’s Company has advanced to the same street of the targeted Mosque and has witnessed a Minaret burst and fall onto an adjoining tenant, collapsing a wall and unveiling a Hezbollah firing squad hiding behind the civilians wounded by the airstrike.
After Avraham sets the radio, he waves his hand over and indicates the Company of crouched men, yelling, “Beseder! Do not run straight! On the other side of the road, now!”
When focused on living to avoid death, you ignore everything that happens around you; you keep climbing. When a soldier focuses on living, they look down. They take in every threat, every alternate and possible ultimatum of death that drives, aims, drops and triggers towards them.
Michel notices the sand shoot in vaporous clouds as the feet of life-threatened soldiers dig into the ground and sprint in zig-zags across the ruptured road. Michel notices his shoulders sore and knotted beneath the straps of his equipment backpack and pouched vest. The sweat that has accrued and stained his body for a showerless three days runs wet once again down his long, tan face and pools in the black crevasses of his Israeli body. His heartbeat he cannot normally feel in his chest now pounds grotesquely clamorous in his ears as his powerful headache resurges.
Watching the joints of his comrades jostle and tear in perfervid survival challenges his mind to keep the body strong in the course. If he is shot, there is no more. He will not be able to flee the country after his service, a tormenting two months away. He will not be able to marry his Arabic Jewish girlfriend Yalda in their planned wedding in Ireland. He will not be able to embrace his dream of living an aimless life of travelling away from the violence. He will not be able to have his potential family. He will not see his sons making aliyah or daughters grow up to marry. Having lost his mother to a terrorist attack four years prior in a Jerusalem public square, he feels unfit to die with such a desire to escape.
Michel has made it to the other side of the road.
A mob of civilians run from an obscure intersection to the Company’s right, noticeably alarmed and fleeing. Michel watches in half-disbelief as a few men raise and aim their guns to shoot; one of the victims, an older lady wearing a cloak and purple hijab, already bleeding at the face and consorted by who looked like her middle-age son, both fall to the ground dead.
Camouflage-clad Hezbollah soldiers follow the retreating group, barrels to their heads and fingers to the trigger.
The wall of sixty exposed Israeli soldiers immediately steer attention to the firing squad, and shoot relentlessly even as the terrorists’ bodies pelt the ground and bullet holes paint the walls behind their absent trajectory.
“Michel. Michel? MICHEL.”
“What happened? Is he shot?”
“MICHEL…? He is having an epilepsy, get him a medic.”
??:?? IDT, 12 JULY 2006?
“Sh’ma Yis’ra’eil Adonai Eloheinu… Adonai echad…
Baruch sheim k’vod maklhuto l’olam… va’ed.
V’ahav’ta eit Adonai… Elohekha b’khol l’vav’kha uv’khol nafsh’kha uv’khol… m’odekha.
V’hayu had’varim ha’eileh ash..er anokhi… m’tza… v’kha hayom… al l’vavekha…
V’shinan’tam… l’vanekha v’dibar’ta bam…
…b’shiv’t’kha b’veitekha uv’lekh’t’kha vaderekh uv’sha…kh’b’kha… uv’limekha…
Uk’shar’tam l’ot al…
yadekha v’hayu l’totafot…
Ukh’tav’tam al m’zuzot beitekh…a…
Ehud falls into sleep with his brother, Eldad, in a heavy transit; the image of a waterfall arrives in view over a dark green valley, enveloping the sun. Chariots soar above in the likeness of planes, of which Ehud cannot remember. A scroll has taken the place of sky from which the waterfall’s light comes.
A shofar soothes his ears as he stares and stares.
BINT JBEIL, LEBANON
13:40PM IDT, 26 JULY 2006
14 DAYS FOLLOWING THE ZAR’IT AMBUSH
This is what is happening.
Not war, not rescue. Not justice.
Michel fires his rifle toward an open hole that may have once been a beautiful bedroom window that faces the eastern horizon; red drapery waves limply from the window. It reminds Michel of the love he has made wrapped in such curtains, and fittingly he reminisces this memory surrounded by death, and surely Michel is separated from his Yalda.
The vertigo of hell infects a reluctant mind to do anything it so pleases. The display of Sepharim wings explode above in the sky as the Israeli jets round about again and again, making distant strikes against reported “Katyusha” missile trucks. These wings are flares used to distract heat-seeking anti-aircraft missiles Hezbollah may fire to clout these planes down.
He plays death in a defiant stupor each time he rings his wrists over the crumbling cover of an ancient wall to shoot, blindly firing at nothing. Captain Avraham has made it clear that Israel does not care about how many casualties they inflict; as long as Hezbollah has Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev in captivity, there will be no stopping the mauling that Lebanon is curtly receiving.
A nameless soldier crouched next to Michel repeats his motions. He curses loudly as he shoots.
So do the Israelis shoot, the Lebanese extremists return fire. Only it seems that the platoon Michel is in, is completely surrounded from behind a small pasture wall facing a derelict ghetto. A Canaan dog who has befriended the Israelis lies imperviously to the life and death around him. –But, Michel has always been surrounded. He insists that he is insane. Is it the war’s fault? No. He reviews his instability that has existed for as long as he grew hair in his forbidden zone.
Insecurity has been a perpetual battle since his youth. Never knowing his father, his mother, Esther, was killed in a bombing during the Second Intifada. He blames not being raised rightly. But, fuck, what good is a blame?
Michel’s helmet is grazed by the streak of a bullet as he prepares to rise over the brim again. This time, he has second thoughts.
A squad of four men from a different company runs crouched transporting an AT4 launcher and its rockets. Michel looks over the dusted ruins of his wall, and spots the dark contrasts of shadowed rooms, the distracting details of telephone poles and homely debris flooding the street; no muzzle flash can be ascertained in the glare the sun produces on the enclave’s many glass and reflective bits.
We should give these guys cover…
“HEY! GIVE THESE GUYS COVER!”
His squad mates nod, and peer over readily and fire. Immediately clips are emptied and the soldiers duck in an uneven firing pattern to reload. The rocket team arrives.
From a space, Michel listens to their conversation, voices befouled by the distance. But something has happened.
First Sergeant Shimon Dahan lies shaking in the lap of his friend Yosef, surrounded by his squad mates in a discreet corner of the fatherly wall. The arrival of the fire team came with a price; Dahan is dead.
Hearing the cries of stressed men has become a norm from the conflict’s inception, and there have been days where the soldiers of ‘C’ Company have been driven tired to tears, but Michel has never seen a man killed in action before. The group huddles over Dahan’s lifeless body, his sweaty neck and arms visible and gleaming from the high sun’s relentless presence as hopeful friends try tirelessly to revive him.
“Ettinger! For fuck’s sake, who the hell is Captain here,” screams Sergeant Idan Minowitz as the AT4 team begins to fire rocket rounds at the ghetto’s fortifications, “god-damn it! You best leave this fucking battlefield! You and your whore of an Arabic cunt!”
Michel’s hands and heart freeze. Not even a bullet could cause such an impact, absorbed by the burning chest of an insulted man.
Michel stands up amid the fire and shrapnel, approaching Idan as he crouches near the group of the deceased member. His left fist is clenched, but he immediately realizes his folly; for a moment he looks down, respects the mourning group of tousled boys, and crouches back beneath the wall in his own place to leave the emotional Sergeant alone.
Michel’s gaze meets a rhythm of grass protruding the pellet rocks of concrete debris, and stalks the situation unfolding meters away with his eyes. The shocked squad of soldiers slowly mobilize and saunter evasively in cover to escort their deceased brother to a Merkava tank’s ambulance. Idan does not join the group, but studies the ground in silent remembrance.
He was only a kid, Michel thinks.
He finally notices a break in the shooting, as if their enemies were giving them time to pay their respects and love; Michel cannot muster the heart to take vengeance for Dahan’s life.
To Michel, it is almost not worth it. He would much rather go home. He discovers that he is a different, angrier person at home than he is in wartime. Why is this? What fix is needed to break immaturity?
Michel begins to black out. He makes his place on the concrete bed behind him, and feels his eyes uncontrollably freeze. A mysterious plague is shooting him within.
Dahan enters the distant Merkava‘s medical chamber. A redundant formation of attack helicopters glide overt the silent assembly, a Star of David faintly visible on their tail boom.
He is safe, free; Dahan is now an angel. Michel is not.
The casualties suffered by Lebanon during the flare in violence is disputed, grave and unclear; most of the deaths and injuries suffered by Israelis were caused by Hezbollah rocket launches, that landed in high-population centers in North Israel. Because Israel did not suffer so many casualties, they were precise in contriving the death toll at one-hundred sixty-five. Lebanese casualties range from one-thousand to two-thousand killed, the greatest of these casualties were innocent civilians.
Ehud and Eldad were returned to their families in 2008 as part of a prisoner trade. Until the exchange occurred, their families had thought that they were still alive.