Connect with us


Israel report by former Winnipegger Bruce Brown

Bruce Brown

Introduction: Bruce Brown is a former Winnipegger now living in Rehovot, Israel. Bruce is providing periodic updates from his own unique perspective about what life is like in Israel these days:

More War Tidbits
Posted October 19:

  • With all the booms in the air.  Coming from far-off, mid-air missile collisions. And sometimes not so far off.  Bravo Iron Dome!  And the swoosh of our fighter jets overhead.  Bravo IAF!  Together with all those customized Red Alert missile applications buzzing away on everyone’s cell phones.  Bravo Elad Nava, tech entrepreneur extraordinaire!  It’s starting to sound like an orchestra out there. 
  • With seventy-five seconds to reach our safe room and with missile attacks being very random with no real pattern.  Such stress and uncertainty prevents me from enjoying my private bathroom time.  Sitting down with a newspaper or book or my smartphone and just hangin’ (pun intended).  But not under current circumstances. Just want to sit, finish, wipe and get out of there.
  • Same for showering.  No more basking under a warm spray of fresh water.  No more humming a few show tunes while lathering up.  Nope.  Not these days.  Just a quick soaping and get out of there.  Same for shaving; I’m getting use to a three-day growth cycle – saves time as well.. 
  • And if we want to get really personal…in the bedroom with the wife.  I am now suffering reverse performance anxiety.  Just get it done and move on.  Don’t want to get caught with my pants down when the sirens sounds.

• Bravo to McDonalds.  Giving McHappy meals free of charge to our solders.  Not appreciated by all franchisees world over.  But here…Ronald McDonald stepped up.
• Many businesses are doing the same.  From banks.  To restaurants.  To retailers.  Stepping up to help.  To relieve some of the burden weighing on the country.  Wonderful to see this coming together.
• Miss my exercise routine.  Was swimming a couple time a week.  Now…not.  The pool closed due to homeland security restriction limiting gatherings at places of leisure.  Now who would categorize exercise as leisure?  Anyway, I don’t think I’d hear the missile alert with my head bobbing in and out of the water while doing the breast-stroke or front-crawl.  And more so, no running along the pool side so would not make the saferoom in time.
• The sweat smell of my wife’s chocolate chip cookies and brownies.  Baking in the kitchen.  Then having my hand slapped away as I go for a cookie.  “Not for you,” the wife admonishes me.  “For our solders.”  It’s that spirit of coming together.
• Fell in love with Joe Biden.  Again.  His lightning visit to Israel this week and his ‘we’ve got your back’ speech was just T R E M E N D O U S !  He kind of reminded me of Clint Eastwood in his glory days.  He had that ‘make my day’ squint in his eye.  Might of just being him struggling to read the monitor…but he came across as a Dirty Harry kind of guy.  Maybe even Rawhide’s Rowdy Yates.
• And again.  I know the diaspora is busy raising money for Israel.  At speeds and amounts never duplicated before.  But don’t stop once you give.  Give more.  This war will cost Israel billions.  Billions!  If you have given. Give again.  And in higher amounts.  Sderot is Israel’s front line.  Israel is the diaspora’s front line.

Posted October 17:

War Tidbits
• Social media was calling for Israelis to sing.  Sing as loud as you can.  Go out to your patios and belt it out.  Hatikva.  At 21:00.  And we did.  And it felt great!  So darn cathartic.  What a sense of solidarity.  As it turns out, on this particular evening, Hamas warned Tel Aviv of a missile barrage at 21:00.  Guess our singing acted as a type of mystical, musical Iron Dome.  No barrage arrived.  Which is not to say Tel Aviv hasn’t had its share of missiles…just not a this particular time.
• My daughter left the house pretty early the other morning and returned about an hour later.  With a huge, orange Glad bag full of…something.  “What’s that?”  I inquired in a nonchalant manner.  “Laundry.  From a family in the South who was evacuated to some hotel.  Mom volunteered”.  As much as we get preoccupied with the war.  With survival.  Sometimes it’s the mundane that really makes a difference.
• Driving to work.  Traffic slowed down considerably due to some ‘jackass’ up ahead who was driving too slow.  Turned out to be a convoy of military jeeps carrying weapons and personnel to our North.  As I passed them – twelve jeeps – I slowed down (in the left lane), gave a friendly honk and a thumbs up to each.  Twelve times.   I became a trend setter as other cars behind me did the same.
• We are not immune to panic buying.  A few nights into the war, based on some rumor or other, I went grocery shopping.  Stocked up on water, canned goods, candles, matches, toilet paper…..  Turned out I wasn’t the only one.  Didn’t get out of there until almost 11:00PM.  The checkout line snaked all the way to the meat section.  Trust me…it was long.  And it was a line.  No pushing or shoving.  The joke being that by the time we reach the check out counter, Netanyahu will have negotiated a ‘hunda’ (truce in Arabic). Ha ha.
• I keep saying I’ll do it.  Need to put more than just a half dozen bottled waters and a few inhalers in our safe room.  Should stock it with canned goods, more medicines, flashlight, battery powered radio and other survival aids.  Maybe tomorrow….
• And the password is….  If someone forgets their housekey and knocks at our now always locked and dead-bolted door.  They need to say a password before we’ll open the door.  I guess the theory being if a Hamas terrorist is holding a gun to their head, they won’t say the password.  Talk about paranoid.  Probably unfounded, regular, run-of-the-mill, war related stress.
• Joe Biden.  His ‘Don’t’ speech was A M A Z I N G !  Talk about geopolitical alliances, commitments, pacts, and the such – I won’t.  I’ll just simply say I fell in love that evening.
• Can you believe it?  There are still a handful of Israelis…  Okay, maybe more than a handful…  Who just don’t get it.  Now is not the time for divisiveness and finger pointing.   There was utter failure.  But the hard questions and difficult answers will come later.  Now is the time for unity!
• My wife and daughter volunteered at a very high-end events and catering hall (my wife works in the industry) –  to help arrange over 1,000 care meals for our solders.  There will be some very satiated and satisfied solders out there enjoying gourmet meals in cardboard boxes and with disposable utensils.
• Ouch.  Our currency at its weakest since 2015.  Trading at a ratio of 4ns : 1$.  Pretty painful when you are sending regular dollar installments to your son studying in the U.S.
• Israel requesting a $10,000,000,000 grant in military equipment from the U.S..  And I sometimes stay up late worrying that we will run out of bullets.  Probably more unfounded, regular, run-of-the-mill, war related stress.  But I certainly hope the US agrees.

  • I know the diaspora is busy raising money for Israel.  At speeds and amounts never duplicated before.  But don’t stop once you give.  Give more.  This war will cost Israel billions.  Billions.  If you have given. Give again.  And in higher amounts.  Sderot is Israel’s front line.  Israel is the diaspora’s front line.
  • I know the diaspora is busy raising money for Israel.  At speeds and amounts never duplicated before.  But don’t stop once you give.  Give more.  This war will cost Israel billions.  Billions.  If you have given. Give again.  And in higher amounts.  Sderot is Israel’s front line.  Israel is the diaspora’s front line.  Purposely repeated.

Posted October 7th
Dad get up!  Siren!”.  6:30 AM on a lazy Saturday morning.  What a way to start the day.  And where was my wife, as I felt around her side of the bed hoping to nudge her awake.  She was already in the saferoom, which doubles as a TV room on better days.  Apparently my snoring that night was too much for her.  So she moved to the couch in the den.  Er… saferoom. 
Never in my wildest nightmares did I expect what was to unfold that day.  October 7th.  Israel’s 9/11.  But worse.  If only because the atrocities were so intimate.  So up close.
That morning there was a prolonged barrage of missiles.  And a long stay of idleness in our saferoom.  Missiles reaching Tel Aviv.  And too many rockets flying over Rehovot, some even exploding within the city causing widespread damage.  And hysteria.  Over 2,500 missiles fired during the initial salvo lasting about four hours.  My weekend quiet time ruined, when I usually slice myself some fresh challa, spread it with Philadelphia Cream Cheese and surf the web, play internet chess, catch up on private emails and even work.  But not today.  The sirens.  The booms.  The literal shaking of the ground.  Seemed to last forever.
It took the TV newsroom about thirty minutes before coming online.   While we were left guessing.  And the military….where were they?  Their absence creating great stress.  While the nightmare unfolded.  In real-time.  On TV.   With my wife, my daughter and me sheltered in our saferoom.  Shocked and scared as events unfolded.  Pictures of Hamas terrorists screeching into Sderot and eventually the surrounding communities.  In white pickup trucks, reminiscent of ISIS.   Piling out of the cargo beds.  Indiscriminately firing machine guns.  In all directions.  Dispersing into the neighborhood.  Shouting Allah Ackbar.  Is this for real?
Frantic calls to the newsroom from victims holed up in their shelters.  Families pleading for help.  Live.  As events unfolded from once pastoral agricultural villages being destroyed in an ugly orgy of barbarism.   Anchormen lost for words.  Reality TV at its worst.   Thank goodness for Whatsapp.  As we frantically texted family, friends and neighbors.  For information.  Anything.  Just to create some semblance of clarity.   
More pictures of Jihadists breaching our billion-dollar, state-of-the-art border fence.  Ripped down.  So effortlessly.  By a yellow John Deere tracker.  Like the Tonko toys of my childhood.  Innocent associations no more.  Then hundreds of Gazans.  Most terrorists.  Some just wretched souls looking for perverted retribution and revenge; misguided by years of brainwashing from living under the hammer of a terrorist regime.  A pogrom no less. Destruction.  Murder and mayhem.  Endless atrocities.  The spreading of fake news problematic.  At one point rumors circulated that Hamas terrorists stole two police cars in my city.  How frightening is that!?  And then time to take the dog out, somethings just need to be done.  Now that was scary!  Peeking around corners with every step and looking over my shoulder every other minute.  Doggy doo-doo be damned, it was a pretty short walk.
Then phone videos circulated.  Broadcast on TV and shared over social media.  Of a weekend music festival in the open fields of our once tranquil south.  Gone horribly wrong.  Revellers running with nowhere to go.  Nowhere to hide.  Being mowed down.  For no reason.  Other than being Jews.  Other then being Israelis.  And us.  Sitting in our saferoom.  Shocked into silence.  Except for the weeping of my wife and the gasps of my daughter.  Confusion and shock prevailed.  How could this be happening in Israel? The villa in the jungle, as once referred to by ex-Defense Minister and Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
That October 7th morning.  Confined to our saferoom.  Other than that dog-walk from hell.  Appalled.  Aghast.  Was the end nearing?  At some point I texted my family.  Messaging that Israel was under severe attack and to pray for us.  Sending them the prayer for the State of Israel and the IDF. 
We finally received the all clear to leave our saferoom.  We were numb with fear. With dread.  Did we just lose the south?  Are there now terrorists amongst us.  Feeling I must do something.  I called our City Hotline.  I am probably their worst customer.  Calling with regular complaints about unkempt streets or uncollected garbage.  This time my call was different.  “It’s me.  What’s going on!?  What can I do?  How can I help?  No sense of bravado here – I hedged by declaring I was sixty years old and had asmtha- but more a feeling of helplessness.  I just had the need to act.  Even if it meant creating a self-perception of doing something meaningful.
Later in the day.  When we were again sent to our saferooms.  With sirens blaring.  Another extended barrage of incoming missiles.  Real life mixed with surrealism throughout the day.  Unbeknownst to my wife and daughter, not wanting to create more stress to an already frightening and dreadful day, I texted my son –  who is living and studying abroad.  Providing him with our financial account details.  “Seriously?!’, he replied.  “Very”, I retorted.  “Just in case.”  Can the world get any blacker?  As we would learn over the next couple of days…Yes.
In a retrospective of the events  Amotz Asa-El wrote, “The most famous strategic surprises -Napoleon’s and Hitler’s invasions of Russia, Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, and the Yom Kipper War’s twin invasions of Israel– were brilliant in their planning and execution, with one caveat; they ended in decisive defeat.  Napoleon’s army was decimated, Hitler died in Berlin’s ruins, Japan was nuked and conquered, and Israel’s invaders were counter-invaded.”  He goes on, “The reason for {their defeats} was that the surprise attacks were so brazen that it ignited wholesale resolve -political, military and national– to hand the… attackers total defeat.  This is what Hamas failed to predict, and will ultimately face.”
On October 7th we witnessed Israel’s darkest hour arguably since its independence in 1948.  But with Israel’s great resolve,  with its massive military and technology leadership.  And, as Golda Meir said in 1973, with its secret weapon of having no place else to go.  The light will shine again.  Brighter.  And stronger.
That night.  Before going to bed.  After a day that will go down in infamy.  At the behest of my daughter and wife.  Who read my thoughts.   I moved our large living room chair against the outside door.  Just in case.
Bruce Brown.  A Canadian. And an Israeli.  Bruce made Aliyah…a long time ago.  He works in Israel’s hi-tech sector by day and, in spurts, is a somewhat inspired writer by night.  Bruce is the winner of the 2019 AJPA Simon Rockower Award for excellence in writing.  And wrote the 1998 satire, An Israeli is….  Bruce’s reflects on life in Israel – political, social, economic and personal.  With lots of biting, contrarian, sardonic and irreverent insight.


Our New Jewish Reality

Indigo bookstore in Toronto defaced

By HENRY SREBRNIK Since Oct. 7, we Jews have been witnessing an ongoing political and psychological pogrom. True, there have been no deaths (so far), but we’ve seen the very real threat of mobs advocating violence and extensive property damage of Jewish-owned businesses, and all this with little forceful reaction from the authorities.
The very day after the carnage, Canadians awoke to the news that the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust had inspired sustained celebrations in its major cities. And they have continued ever since. I’d go so far as to say the Trudeau government has, objectively, been more interested in preventing harm to Gazans than caring about the atrocities against Israelis and their state.
For diaspora Jews, the attacks of Oct. 7 were not distant overseas events and in this country since then they have inspired anti-Semitism, pure and simple, which any Jew can recognize. Even though it happened in Israel, it brought back the centuries-old memories of defenseless Jews being slaughtered in a vicious pogrom by wild anti-Semites.
I think this has shocked, deeply, most Jews, even those completely “secular” and not all that interested in Judaism, Israel or “Zionism.” Jewish parents, especially, now fear for their children in schools and universities. The statements universities are making to Jewish students across the country could not be clearer: We will not protect you, they all but scream. You’re on your own.
But all this has happened before, as we know from Jewish history. Long before Alfred Dreyfus and Theodor Herzl, the 1881 pogroms in tsarist Russia led to an awakening of proto-Zionist activity there, with an emphasis on the land of Israel. There were soon new Jewish settlements in Palestine.
The average Jew in Canada now knows that his or her friend at a university, his co-worker in an office, and the people he or she socializes with, may in fact approve, or at least not disapprove, of what happened that day in Israel. Acquaintances or even close friends may care far more about Israel killing Palestinians in Gaza. Such people may even believe what we may call “Hamas pogrom denial,” already being spread. Many people have now gone so far in accepting the demonization of Israel and Jews that they see no penalty attached to public expressions of Jew-hatred. Indeed, many academics scream their hatred of Israel and Jews as loud as possible.
One example: On Nov. 10, Toronto officers responded to a call at an Indigo bookstore located in the downtown. It had been defaced with red paint splashed on its windows and the sidewalk, and posters plastered to its windows.
The eleven suspects later arrested claimed that Indigo founder Heather Reisman (who is Jewish) was “funding genocide” because of her financial support of the HESEG Foundation for Lone Soldiers, which provides scholarships to foreign nationals who study in Israel after serving in the Israeli armed forces. By this logic, then, most Jewish properties and organizations could be targeted, since the vast majority of Jews are solidly on Israel’s side.
Were these vandals right-wing thugs or people recently arrived from the Middle East? No, those charged were mostly white middle-class professionals. Among them are figures from academia, the legal community, and the public education sector. Four are academics connected to York University (one of them a former chair of the Sociology Department) and a fifth at the University of Toronto; two are elementary school teachers; another a paralegal at a law firm.
Were their students and colleagues dismayed by this behaviour? On the contrary. Some faculty members, staff and students at the university staged a rally in their support. These revelations have triggered discussions about the role and responsibilities of educators, given their influential positions in society.
You’ve heard the term “quiet quitting.” I think many Jews will withdraw from various clubs and organizations and we will begin to see, in a sense like in the 1930s, a reversal of assimilation, at least in the social sphere. (Of course none of this applies to Orthodox Jews, who already live this way.)
Women in various feminist organizations may form their own groups or join already existing Jewish women’s groups. There may be an increase in attendance in K-12 Jewish schools. In universities, “progressive” Jewish students will have to opt out of organizations whose members, including people they considered friends, have been marching to the slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and similar eliminationist rhetoric, while waving Palestinian flags.
This will mostly affect Jews on the left, who may be supporters of organizations which have become carriers of anti-Semitism, though ostensibly dealing with “human rights,” “social justice,” and even “climate change.”
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg took part in a demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm on Oct. 22 in which she chanted “crush Zionism” along with hundreds of other anti-Israel protesters. Israel is now unthinkingly condemned as a genocidal apartheid settler-colonialist state, indeed, the single most malevolent country in the world and the root of all evil.
New York Times Columnist Bret Stephens expressed it well in his Nov. 7 article. “Knowing who our friends aren’t isn’t pleasant, particularly after so many Jews have sought to be personal friends and political allies to people and movements that, as we grieved, turned their backs on us. But it’s also clarifying.”
Henry Srebrnik is a professor of political science at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown.

Continue Reading


Former Winnipegger Vivian Silver, at first thought to have been taken hostage, has now been confirmed dead

Jewish Post & News file photo

Former Winnipegger and well-known Israeli peace activist Vivian Silver has now been confirmed as having been killed during the massacre of Israelis and foreign nationals perpetrated by Hamas terrorists on October 7. Vivian, a resident of Kibbutz Be’eri was originally thought to be among the more than 1200 individuals who were taken hostage by Hamas.

To read the full story on the CBC website, go to

Continue Reading


Israeli show satirizing students in the US who give blind support to Hamas

If you want to take a break from the tension that comes with following every bit of news associated with Israel’s war on Hamas watch this hilarious video satirizing the stupidity of US college kids who give unqualified support to Hamas:

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News