The current Israel/Hamas conflict, though it is motivated by a primal hatred of Israel and Jews by Islamist terrorists, is being fought out in a 21st Century way. Not only does it feature the first real stress test of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, but also a little bit of cyberwar. In regards to the latter, one of the few and far between examples of humor in the conflict has ensued.
Iron Dome is designed to track missiles launched from neighboring territory and, if they are judged to be a threat to civilian population, shoot them down, according to a Monday story in the Times of Israel. Those headed for an unoccupied field, for example, are left alone. The system has had remarkable success, saving innumerable lives and, almost as important, giving Israel’s leaders space to exercise forbearance in responding to the Hamas missile bombardment.
In times past, with its civilian population under threat, Israel has been obliged to escalate rather quickly to a ground invasion of Gaza with a view of eliminating Hamas missile launchers. But with Iron Dome blunting the attacks, Israel’s leaders are able to employ a slower, more systematic approach that involves air and artillery bombardment and limited special operations raids. Both Arab and Israeli casualties are held down and Hamas is faced with the prospect of seeing its missile arsenal depleted without much effect.
Cyberwar also seems to be a component in the current conflict. According to the Algemeiner, Israel’s Domino’s Pizza Facebook page was taken over by Hamas hackers. They offered a blood curdling threat to Israeli pizza lovers. “Today will strike deep in Israel, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, Ashkelon, Ashdod more than 2000 rockets. We’ll start at 7. Counting back towards the end of Israel … Be warned!”
Israelis, used to this sort of thing on Arab media, were by and large unimpressed. One response stated, “Hey, please reserve a missile for me with jalapenos, green olives, extra cheese, and mushrooms. You have my address. Tell the delivery boy to activate the alarm when it is arriving, so I know to put my pants on.” And no doubt prepare for the delivery in the nearest shelter.
Undeterred, the Hamas hackers doubled down. They posted a picture of Israelis taking shelter from the missile bombardment in a sewer pipe with the caption, “The right place for every Israeli – the sewer pipe, hahaha!” An Israeli commenter countered with a message that stated, “You know who lives in sewers? And what they eat?” He posted a cartoon of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles enjoying their favorite meal, a pizza.
In short order Domino’s wrested control of the website back from Hamas. The company could not help itself and added its own rejoinder that taunted the hackers. “You cannot defeat….The Israeli hunger for pizza!” Score another for Israel, undefeated in battle and in humor.