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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.


Top 7 Dumbest Things Said About Israel Lately

US Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to the media following a meeting with US President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington, US, July 17, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

The team at HonestReporting has scoured the Internet to bring you some of the dumbest things people have said about Israel in the last two months. From sheer malice to total ignorance, it’s incredible just how far some people are prepared to go when it comes to criticizing Israel. Here’s just seven examples:


Briahna Joy Gray, podcaster, host, and former Bernie Sanders National Press Secretary, confidently made this statement recently: that when Hamas talks about eliminating Israel, “it’s not talking about killing all of the Jews.”

According to her, Hamas really means eliminating the idea of a “Jewish state” and replacing it with something more akin to the United States of America.

Here’s @briebriejoy claiming Hamas does not want to genocide Jews (despite it being their charter,) claiming they want a “peaceful” one state solution and that Muslims were not involved in October 7th.

This is a delusional fantasy multiplex.

— Brianna Wu (@BriannaWu) June 1, 2024

Guess we misinterpreted Article 7 of the official Hamas charter — “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight Jews and kill them” — and Article 13, “Palestine is an Islamic land… Since this is the case, the Liberation of Palestine is an individual duty for every Muslim.”

Briahna, if Hamas was nearly as wholesome as you say, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would have been resolved decades ago. This naïveté is painful to watch.


We commend the below ex-study abroad student for being open to listening. However, it is important to highlight the average Western young adult’s knowledge and understanding of the Middle East. This is the situation that countries like the United States have found themselves in, with various social justice movements ultimately backing values that oppose their own.

It may be lost on some that Islamic-run Palestinian territories like the Gaza Strip are generally unfriendly towards the LGBTQ community. What is surprising here, is that this woman apparently visited and spent time in Israel. It would be assumed that she would know that Israel is a Jewish state.

Do queers for Palestine understand what they’re supporting?

— Lady Maga USA (@LadyMagaUSA) June 3, 2024


Jackson Hinkle has been on our radar, and his recent appearance on TalkTV proved that he lacks knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially regarding diplomacy.

In an ideal world, everyone should live ‘”happily together.” Unfortunately, the world is filled with strife, and there are difficult conflicts across continents that have not been solved. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is incredibly complex, and both sides have been in on-and-off negotiations with each other for decades to no avail.

Why bend over backward to attempt to become a respected public figure if you have no will to study the history of conflicts you speak so staunchly about?


This is a particularly common trope we have seen rise in popularity — but it is not true. Research by author Yossi Harpaz estimates only about 10 percent of Israel’s population holds dual citizenship.

As writer Simone Somekh noted in a thread on X, Israeli Jews of North African and Middle Eastern descent, for example, are not welcome back to live in those countries and do not hold citizenship.

“Almost every Israeli has 2 passports.” This is what happens when you attend TikTok University: your opinions are based on lies.

Let’s debunk this claim

— Simone Somekh (@simonesomekh) June 5, 2024

In conclusion, there are many who desire another passport, but to Avon Lady’s dismay, 10 percent is not almost every Israeli.


This despicable comment was made live on Al Jazeera by a Gazan woman during her interview with head news presenter Elsy Abi Assi back in April. She claimed that during the IDF operation in Al-Shifa Hospital, soldiers raped Palestinian women and violently slaughtered other Palestinians who were taking shelter in the hospital at the time.

But, according to a tweet on X by Al Jazeera columnist and former director Yasser Abuhilalah, Hamas even disproved this claim.

The woman later admitted she inflated these claims in order to “arouse the nation’s fervor.”


Unfortunately, this isn’t the only shocking accusation about Israel that TikToker Guy Christensen has made.

His main point: Israel uses these tools to move Palestinians into enclaves so that they are easier to target and control. There is major context missing here. Guy also makes false claims about apartheid.

One outrageous claim he makes is that roads in the West Bank are made separate for Israelis and Palestinians. This is simply not true.

Guy also fails to give context to IDF checkpoints across the West Bank, which exist for security purposes. Checkpoints are meant to prevent terror attacks on Israeli civilians. Previous terror attacks and intifadas indicated the necessity, and have proven effective. The same goes for the contentious security barrier.

His accusations that Gazan restriction of movement is so that Israel can keep them oppressed is also false. Gaza is ruled by a terror organization, in case you haven’t heard.


Israel is quite right, how was it supposed to know there would be civilians crowded in a refugee camp

— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) June 4, 2024

Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about this statement is that the IDF itself said it was aware of where the displacement camp was, and that it did not strike it. The Hamas terror target was roughly 650 feet away. Further, targets were pinpointed with smaller munitions to reduce surrounding damage. A devastating secondary explosion due to the strike, believed to be a Hamas weapons truck, resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The post Top 7 Dumbest Things Said About Israel Lately first appeared on

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New website for Israelis interested in moving to Canada

By BERNIE BELLAN (May 21, 2024) A new website, titled “Orvrim to Canada” ( has been receiving hundreds of thousands of visits, according to Michal Harel, operator of the website.
In an email sent to Michal explained the reasons for her having started the website:
“In response to the October 7th events, a group of friends and I, all Israeli-Canadian immigrants, came together to launch a new website supporting Israelis relocating to Canada. “Our website,, offers a comprehensive platform featuring:

  • Step-by-step guides for starting the immigration process
  • Settlement support and guidance
  • Community connections and networking opportunities
  • Business relocation assistance and expert advice
  • Personal blog sharing immigrants’ experiences and insights

“With over 200,000 visitors and media coverage from prominent Israeli TV channels and newspapers, our website has already made a significant impact in many lives.”
A quick look at the website shows that it contains a wealth of information, almost all in Hebrew, but with an English version that gives an overview of what the website is all about.
The English version also contains a link to a Jerusalem Post story, published this past February, titled “Tired of war? Canada grants multi-year visas to Israelis” ( That story not only explains the requirements involved for anyone interested in moving to Canada from Israel, it gives a detailed breakdown of the costs one should expect to encounter.

(Updated May 28)

We contacted Ms. Harel to ask whether she’s aware whether there has been an increase in the number of Israelis deciding to emigrate from Israel since October 7. (We want to make clear that we’re not advocating for Israelis to emigrate; we’re simply wanting to learn more about emigration figures – and whether there has been a change in the number of Israelis wanting to leave the country.)
Ms. Harel referred us to a website titled “Globes”:
The website is in Hebrew, but we were able to translate it into English. There is a graph on the website showing both numbers of immigrants to Israel and emigrants.
The graph shows a fairly steady rate of emigration from 2015-2022, hovering in the 40,000 range, then in 2023 there’s a sudden increase in the number of emigrants to 60,000.
According to the website, the increase in emigrants is due more to a change in the methodology that Israel has been using to count immigrants and emigrants than it is to any sudden upsurge in emigration. (Apparently individuals who had formerly been living in Israel but who may have returned to Israel just once a year were being counted as having immigrated back to Israel. Now that they are no longer being counted as immigrants and instead are being treated as emigrants, the numbers have shifted radically.)
Yet, the website adds this warning: “The figures do not take into account the effects of the war, since it is still not possible to identify those who chose to emigrate following it. It is also difficult to estimate what Yalad Yom will produce – on the one hand, anti-Semitism and hatred of Jews and Israelis around the world reminds everyone where the Jewish home is. On the other hand, the bitter truth we discovered in October is that it was precisely in Israel, the safe fortress of the Jewish people, that a massacre took place reminding us of the horrors of the Holocaust. And if that’s not enough, the explosive social atmosphere and the difference in the state budget deficit, which will inevitably lead to a heavy burden of taxes and a reduction in public services, may convince Zionist Israelis that they don’t belong here.”
Thus, as much as many of us would be disappointed to learn that there is now an upsurge in Israelis wanting to move out of the country, once reliable figures begin to be produced for 2024, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that is the case – which helps to explain the tremendous popularity of Ms. Harel’s website.

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Message from a Palestinian in Gaza to protesters: “You’re hurting the Palestinian cause”

Protesters at McGill University

A very brave Palestinian who was willing to put his name to paper and write an article for Newsweek Magazine has exposed the utter hypocrisy of all those students – and others, who have been setting up encampments across the U.S. – and now Canada, too.

You can read the article at

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