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So, I’ve been watching the Instagram Israel Defense Forces feed (#IDF) and this photo literally stopped me in my tracks. Really, it almost made me cry. For the little context I can provide, the photo was first posted five months ago by a user named drorsalah who lives in Be’er-Sheva. The original caption/hashtag info posted with the picture is as follows:
#planes in the #sky #print #sign of #heart – #amazing #love #beautiful #israel #picoftheday #photooftheday #instamood #instagood #nature #view
Republished about an hour ago in the Air Force thread, however, the latest caption with hashtags reads:
For #idf and #iaf with love…
My first reaction, similar I’d imagine to many of yours, was a loss of breath, followed by an ache in my own heart. With bombs raining down on Gaza, I thought, who could be so cold, so callous as to effectively affix a love button or smiley face sticker over the enterprise, no matter which side your on.
That troubled and curious, I felt I had to check out this user’s feed a little more closely. Of course, first thing I looked at was his profile:
Formula1 & FC Barcelona fan.
Live in Be’er-Sheva, Israel
All images are taken by me…
Love travel, outdoor, cooking and photography.
There was that “love” again.
Looking at his handle, I imagine the “dr” at the beginning stands for doctor. Certainly, he makes a decent living as he certainly travels a lot, often with his family. After looking back 150 pictures or so — with the exception of two similarly gauzy Air Force-related pics (1, 2 ); did he do a stint at some point? — almost all that’s there are nostalgic and generic postcard-like travel photos, one after another, many with his kids posing in the foreground. Despite the opportunity in settings as diverse as Spain, Japan, Italy, New York and all over Israel, however, there is no depth or complexity to any scene he is looking at but, instead, mostly stock tourist vistas: sea, snow, sunsets, flowers and monuments. The inference, in other words, is that this simple lover of travel, outdoor and photography, in posting this visual love poem to the Israeli Air Force (for all the world to see), did do so without any sense of irony at all.
Meditating on this, I’m wondering how many other Israelis (this one, obviously well educated and well-traveled) could actually be this childlike and naive when it comes to the circumstances at hand. Unless the photo is that particular to the mind of one person, it also humbles me in considering the contrast to the ways and the consciousness of people and cultures far from our shores.