Ahab stooped to clear it; he did clear it; but the flying turn caught him round the neck, and voicelessly as Turkish mutes bowstring their victim, he was shot out of the boat—Herman Melville, Moby Dick, 135. The Chase.–Third Day.
On August 1, 2014, Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, was captured alive by Hamas. Two soldiers that were with him were killed during the event.
Swallowed by the Ground
By the end of Moby Dick, Captain Ahab descends into the depths of the sea riding his Leviathan, his monstrous Nemesis. In the unlikely case that he is aware of Melville’s book, Second Lieutenant Goldin probably recalled the image while being dragged underground by his captors.
I am writing this shortly after the event. Little has been published. Hamas acknowledged the event but has not mentioned the captured officer.
Worried PM Netanyahu, Shocked Minister of Defense Ya’alon
Moby Dick: or the Whale
Mohammed Deif, commander of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas responsible for the event, won a second significant success within a week, just after conquering the Nahal Oz IDF watchtower.
Hamas and IDF reports also differ in the time of the event. Hamas claims that it happened before a short ceasefire was enforced by both sides for humanitarian reasons. The IDF claims that it happened at 9:30AM, after the ceasefire started.
Goldin was standing near the entrance of a tunnel in Rafah, a city in Gaza just next to the Egyptian border together with two of his soldiers. Apparently they were planning an attack on the tunnel after the ceasefire ends.
A Hamas commando unit appeared from underground, a modern Moby Dick looking for his Ahab tormentor. One of its soldiers approached the IDF ones and detonated himself. The three died. The other Hamas soldiers captured the shocked officer and disappeared underground.
“Any Place, Any Time, Any Mission”—the motto of Brigade Givati 84, where he serves—got a new meaning today.
Goldin is not Shalit
The most famous Israeli captive soldier was Gilad Shalit. The Business of Saving Shalit kept the media busy for years and generated profits for Hamas and Israel.
Shalit had been captured in a comedy of errors (Shalit, the Movie) caused by the low level of his training and his infinite lameness.
Goldin is a different story. He is 23, having grown up in Kfar Saba, a town in the northern outskirts of Tel Aviv. His rank and age do not fit a regular path. This is because he studied what is known as the 13th year, meaning that he is has technician level in an undisclosed field.
Givati Brigade was recreated in 1983, during the Lebanon War, in order to perform marine bypasses, being given the name of one of the brigades that participated in the 1948 War.
In 1982, the Vertical Bypass Division 98 of the IDF had performed a successful marine landing in Lebanon and convinced the General Headquarters of the need to have a dedicated unit for the task.
Eventually, this wet role was cancelled and Givati became the infantry brigade of the IDF’s Southern Command. One of its subunits is “Rimon” (“grenade”) the desert commando unit which competes against the Druze and Bedouin commando in fighting the sands. How can one run with sand in the shoe?
The specialty and the specific subunit where Goldin served were not published. Considering everything, it is probable that he is an electronics or computers technician serving in the signals company of the brigade. Communicating with soldiers entering a tunnel from outside demands some planning.
His father is a Judaism Professor at Tel Aviv University. Simha and Hedva are his parents’ names. Both mean “happiness.” Today, they got an ironic meaning.
Hadar Goldin and his Fiancée
After writing this article, an emergency meeting of the National Security Cabinet, headed by PM Netanyahu, had not ended.
Hamas is providing small but significant victories, while the IDF is failing to complete the task that Minister of Defense Ya’alon claimed that it will take two or three days when the ground operation started. Most attack-tunnels (those from where missiles can be launched) are still operative. They are not tunnels in the sense of independent structures connecting two points, but an underground city with endless interconnections.
Since the beginning of the current operation,* Hamas is winning the media battle. In Givat Amal it hurt the cohesion of the Israeli society, in Nahal Oz it eroded the image of the IDF as a professional army, and now it captured an officer from a serious unit before breakfast.
In one of the recent articles about Operation Strong Cliff, I commented on the change of banners of some Hebrew media outlets. The operation became in them the Gaza War, indicating the expanding characteristic of the event.
“Idiots! Your task was to bring one soldier!, I told you to bring here one soldier! Not the entire IDF!”
Daily Cartoon of Settler Channel 7, July 18, note the tunnel
Moby Dick: or the Whale
Today another change took place. Ultra-Orthodox Kikar HaShabat (The Saturday’s Square) placed a new banner. It reads: ‘”The Name [God] Will Avenge Their Blood” The Killed in Strong Cliff’
“God will avenge” they say because they know now that the IDF cannot.
“Now small fowls flew screaming over the yet yawning gulf; a sullen white surf beat against its steep sides; then all collapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago,” wrote Melville, describing the sea closing over Captain Ahab.
‘”The Name [God] Will Avenge Their Blood” The Killed in Strong Cliff’
Mr. Roi Tov is one of the frequent contributors for The 4th Media.