If Gazans want compassion from Israelis, they should grow a tail

Posted: 02/20/2009 by editormary in Hasbara Deconstruction Site, Newswire, Palestine, War, Zionism
Tags: , , , , , ,

Sick and starving animals soften Israeli hearts: There never is a limit to the absurd. In a period when Israelis approve of killing and starving human beings, they find enough compassion so that they can get animal feed into the Gaza Zoo. I found this piece in Israel 21C (the site that brags about the high tech of Israel) and was dumbstruck reading it. I will add a few comments within in Blue
Israeli animal charity sends aid to Gaza zoo
By Abigail Klein-Leichman   
Truckloads of food and medicine for lions, horses, donkeys, and other ill and hungry animals were among the relief supplies flowing into the Gaza Strip from Israel following the recent three-week war.

It was no easy feat getting help to the inhabitants of the Gaza Zoo and to other wild and domesticated creatures in an area hostile to the Jewish state.

Oh Gee, I wonder why it would be hostile to the Jewish State, especially now.

But Eti Altman, co-founder and spokeswoman of Israel’s largest animal-welfare organization, Let the Animals Live (LAL), is tenacious in her mission to alleviate suffering.

You will note the name of the organisation, which sounds so noble. I suppose the name of the organisation that represents Israel and the policy the absolute majority supports of bombing the living daylights out of Gaza as Let the People Die (LPD). I suppose alleviating suffering is important only for animals.

Since its beginnings in 1986, LAL has sheltered and found homes for 35,000 dogs and cats, neutered 50,000 strays, and provided veterinary care to thousands of abused horses, donkeys, crocodiles, dolphins, camels, and members of other species.

LAL’s lobbying efforts have resulted in Israeli legislation banning practices such as exportation of dogs and cats to the Philippines for food; “entertaining” dog fights and matches between men and crocodiles; baboon breeding for experiments; university laboratory experiments on monkeys; and the exploitation of wild animals by circus owners. It is also working to stop the importation of live animals for slaughter.

Again, it seems odd that since vegetarianism is not part of the canonical Jewish diet, it stands to reason that animals that are slaughtered first have to be alive. This might be another name for protectionism, but I was also under the impression that the strict dietary laws for observant Jews would seek to bring the animals in alive, so that the butcher could apply the correct steps to the slaughter. Oh well… this one will just remain a mystery to me.

Altman’s assistant general manager, Ilan Lusky, explains to ISRAEL21c that the organization first learned that lions in the Gaza Zoo were in distress at the end of 2007. Their food supply was limited because of blockades in the wake of attacks on Israeli border towns.

Now, how could they imagine that the king of the jungle would have its share of meat if there was nothing coming in even for humans? And, not to neglect, they have to insist in the propaganda that the blockade was caused by Palestinians… sure… sure.

Altman made phone call after phone call to Hamas government officials, determined to take the lions to a foster home in Israel. The offer was consistently refused.

Well, check that out! They were sure they could waltz right out of there with the animals in the zoo, and they expect us to believe they were calling Hamas officials to arrange it! That’s a mighty tall story!

Animals living in terrible conditions

But as the dawning of 2009 brought with it retaliatory Israeli raids on Gaza, Altman renewed her efforts to assist the zoo.

Double dose of propaganda: the war is called “retaliatory raids” and the dear activist is very worried about the occupants of the zoo, so compassionate are Israeli hearts…. Hamas would prefer, it is thus implied from the previous paragraph, to let the poor beasts die.

“We found out that the situation there was terrible,” says Lusky. “Many animals died in the bombings, and the remaining animals were living in poor conditions. We said, ‘Let’s put politics aside and take care of the animals.’ We were not giving up.”

This segment is so absurd, it really doesn’t deserve a comment. It speaks for itself.

Altman worked around refusals of direct aid by establishing contacts with government officials and Palestinian and international animal-relief groups such as Veterinary World Service. The Israeli Ministry of Defense granted permission for the entry of 30 truckloads of oats, hay, and veterinary supplies into Gaza. LAL volunteers brought in the goods over a period of weeks and transferred them to local Arabs for delivery. The last two trucks were dispatched on Tuesday.

An official “thank you” was neither forthcoming nor anticipated.

Are you laughing too?

“We’re not waiting for medals or prizes,” says Lusky. “Officially, they don’t want our help. But we did get thanked by our international partner groups, and we know from our Palestinian contacts that the donations went to the right places.”

It seems they feel bad about not getting thanked for the oats. But… the question begs, since when do lions eat oats?

LAL also launched a campaign to bring relief to pets affected on both sides of the conflict. Many pets were abandoned when their owners fled, or went hungry because they were unable to earn a living while under siege.

Again, the extent of the enormous human drama is not even hinted at… people fleeing, starving, unemployed and desperate under a seige worse than what would have been done in the middle ages. It’s the pets, folks, the pets have to be allowed to live, they don’t vote Hamas.

Pets deserted in bombed cities

During the war, Altman went to hard-hit southern Israeli cities with veterinarians and other volunteers to help local animal-welfare groups rescue homeless animals and distribute donated food. This initiative has extended beyond the ceasefire.

“There is an unbelievable situation with deserted pets in bombed cities such as Sderot and Ashkelon,” says Lusky. “These cities are trying to take of their people, and there is no money for the animals. Because of budgetary constraints, animals are at the bottom of the list.”

You read a sentence, “bombed cities”, you think of Gaza City, Khan Younis, Rafah… not to the LAL folks.

LAL’s shelter in Ramla houses 200 dogs and 70 cats, some of them war refugees. Lusky coordinates volunteers at the shelter, and welcomes help from tourists.

If LAL can raise enough money, it will set up free veterinary clinics in war-ravaged areas. In cooperation with Israeli pet supermarket Pet Point, it is offering emergency care packages for purchase through letlive.org.il.

And if donors are found to foot the bill of $170-$350 per truckload, LAL hopes to continue sending aid to the Gaza Zoo and to domestic animals in Gaza.

In fact, although offers to find new homes for Gazan animals in Israel still are being rebuffed, Altman dares to hope that a continuing relationship can ease hostilities.

And why should they give up their animals? To make a propaganda tool even bigger than the one of the lorryloads of oats? Wouldn’t access to food and supplies be the best solution for humans and animals? This is not something that the LAL people would consider, surely.

“In light of this humanitarian effort, I have no doubt we can save many of the animals in the place,” says Altman. “I am hoping that through the animals we will be able to draw the two sides closer together.”

For information on donating or volunteering, call Ilan Lusky, +972-3-624-1776, ext 5.


  1. […] Palestine Think Tank wrote an interesting post today on If Gazans want compassion from Israelis, they should grow a tailHere’s a quick excerptSick and starving animals soften Israeli hearts: There never is a limit to the absurd. In a period when Israelis approve of killing and starving human beings, they find enough compassion so that they can get animal feed into the Gaza Zoo. I found this piece in Israel 21C (the site that brags about the high tech of Israel) and was dumbstruck reading it. I will add a few comments within in Blue Israeli animal charity sends aid to Gaza zoo By Abigail Klein-Leichman    Truckloads of food […]

  2. Mary,

    There is an important Jewish mitzvah (commandment) called tzar be’lechaim, which is intended to guard animals against cruelty. If a Jew sees an animal in distress, even if it is an “enemy’s” animal, the Jew is commanded to help that animal.

    Dragging lions, bears and god-knows-what-other animals through the tunnels to prod and torture them shows the world how “humane” the Gazans really are. Then again, they throw their babies in the line of fire.

    See this video of the Gaza zoo:

    Gaza Zoo Is Hell for Animals

    You can learn a lot about people from how they treat animals.

  3. yehadut says:

    You have so fallen for Palestinian propaganda that you find reality confusing. You can’t fathom the simple truth that Israel is a very compassionate, decent country who sympathizes with the suffering of the Palestinian people but have no choice but to defend themselves — imperfectly, perhaps, but as best they know how — against mass murderers committed to their destruction. I know I won’t convince someone who’s already drunk the kool-aid that justifies terrorism and condemns self-defense, but hopefully stories like this will increase the chances that you think twice about your “Israel is evil” brainwashing.

    (Another sign of your prejudice is that you’d in any way associate the actions of this animal protection group with Israeli government policy. For all you know, they may disagree completely with government policy. Every individual in Israel is different. But you take a biased view lumping them all together until your effectively (if not intentionally) antisemitic banner of “Israelis are all evil”)

  4. Mary Rizzo says:

    @Karin Kloosterman
    you can learn a lot about people from how they treat people.

  5. Mary Rizzo says:

    What a joke! what is anti-semitic in a single word i wrote?
    It defies the imagination to see these people who probably did not bat an eyelash for the suffering of humans (calling them mass murderers) while they send oats to lions and then sniff back the tears and puff up their proud chests with “we don’t expect a thank you”…
    they are a joke and so are you!

  6. ioana says:

    during Israel’s bombings of Gaza, I found commentaries saying: “why talk about Gaza when there is Darfur?” – first, I ranged this as totally nonsensical; but then I found clues (like here http://palestinethinktank.com/2009/01/06/avrum-burg-can-the-jewish-people-survive-without-an-enemy/) and searched further, finding out that in Israel the humanitarian voluntary action is highly regarded – with the one condition that the conflict that gets their attention take place far away from Israel’s borders. so that the Israeli citizens can safely spend their humanity elsewhere while keeping their eyes closed as far as their own Palestinian victims are concerned.
    I guess the same schema is perfectly applicable to the animals issue here. with the one mention that the above quoted article “Israeli animal charity sends…” also relies on a fallaciously reversed argument: while I agree that mistreating an animal is necessarily bad, doing good to animals does not necessarily make someone a good person. one can do good to animals – because they are “animated” – and then do good to every living thing in virtue of one’s own goodness, or one can help only animals fanatically, without any rational approach and usually opposing the group of “animals” or “pets” to whatever else one needs to fight for one’s own psychological comfort.
    the latter motivation describes the Israeli attitude – which is demonstrated by the fact that this is one of the few articles on this site to which I’ve seen comments pertaining to the Israeli position.
    moreover, on the Israeli news sites, ynetnews for example, whenever there is an article related to btselem (or any other Israeli organization that deals with Palestinian rights) the comments are overwhelmingly negative, rating any humanitarian action related to the Palestinian issue as “redundant”, “unwanted” and “treacherous”.

  7. Shaukat says:

    Frankly I don’t think even a tail would change Zionazis attitude toward Palestinian Muslims and Christians. They will still carry their religious hatred toward animals and the Gentiles:

    To heal the disease of pleurisy (“catarrh”) – a Jew should take the excrement of a white dog and knead it with balsam, but if he can possibly avoid it he should not eat the dog’s excrement as it loosens the limbs. Talmud, Pesahim 111a.

    It is forbidden for dogs, women or palm trees to pass between two men, nor may others walk between dogs, women or palm trees. Special dangers are involved if the women are menstruating or sitting at a crossroads. Talmud, Menahoth 43b-44a .

    Like A Virgin


  8. I voted Nader says:

    @Mary Rizzo

    Dear Mary,

    This is the first time I’ve been here to this site. I found the article informative. and your personal responses sensible. Please ignore the fascists who have made their way to this site – probably with Megaphone – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megaphone_desktop_tool

    I also appreciate your taking the time to write about the animals. You are not alone in hoping that the world will bring a halt to this holocaust in a different time and place.

  9. kitsia says:

    Mary, thank you for posting this article.
    I am an animal activist as well as a human rights activist.
    I have seen pictures of the destuction and massacre of Gaza including the Gaza Zoo on Palestinian Mothers. There was a blog posted on the zoo with pictures.
    I have done all I can do , and continue to do for Gaza, be it donation, or activism.My activism has also included letting animal organisations know about what the Israelis have done to animals in Gaza, shooting them in the streets, in the zoo, and bulldozing chicken farms.
    People massacred are on the news, and various agencies are now trying to get aid to people. The Israelis are not cooperating fully and have been told to stop preventing aid reaching the people of Gaza by H. Clinton.
    Animals have “no voice” and should not be overlooked, at least the people of Gaza have some voice. Animals are innocent victims of this massacre and should also receive food. Politics aside, animals also need aid, and thankfully an organisation has not forgotten them. I do not care if this aid comes from Israelis or from Italy or whoever.
    The people are suffering as are their animals, and I am grateful for some help no matter who gives it.
    Any living entity suffers, human and animal. It’s not the Israeli government that is giving aid to the animals but an Israeli animal orgaisation, they are the closest and managed to get some aid. Perhaps PETA an international animal organisation helped fund this. The red cross and unwra and others are helping the people. I’m sure the Palestinians who love their animals are glad of this help. Who wants to see their animals suffer and die on top of seeing their children die.
    I know the point of this story, but , can you see mine?

  10. Mary Rizzo says:

    Thanks for your comment Kitsia, and as a lifelong vegetarian, (since 8 years of age) my only sins have been a leather jacket and boots…. I care very much about animals. However, there is great irony in the interest expressed in the animals and not in the humans, and as the article itself is unable to grasp the difference between a bombed city and a city that had less damage than my own street gets on New Years eve, (or when Italy wins the World Cup), i was shocked at how they portray themselves as caring people when they do care about animals, but not humans. Remember how it was always said that Hitler loved animals? I mean, there is something I find quite shameless in the way that they depict what they have done. Without remorse, I personally would toss the food back at them, and this is not because I don’t think that the Palestinians want their beloved animals to do well, but they have dignity that cannot be bought for a publicity stunt like this is.

    A friend of mine in Gaza told me there was a drastic need for human blood. Where are the Israelis offering this? Why are lives of animals worth something and lives of humans are not worth anything?

    And, I really do NOT buy their story about making deals with Hamas. I can imagine the Israelis wanted to get the animals in the Zoo, but I really don’t believe the story here about that. It is just one further thing to make Israelis look good while they are doing nothing.

    I don’t want to put the motivations of the person on trial, but that sentence, “we don’t expect thanks” was just… disgusting.

  11. kitsia says:

    Hi Mary,
    Glad to meet some one who is a pacifist right down the line which includes animals. I too am a vegetarian and believe animals are not ours to use abuse eat or use for entertainment.
    It is not just Israeli hearts that seem to soften but the world when the story is about animals suffering.
    The horrific pictures of carnage, especially of children in Gaza does not seem to soften hearts, yet animals do. I read a story that a doctor in Gaza told. He said, get a box and put 4 kittens inside, while a camera is running, then close the lid, put it on the ground and stomp on it several times. Lift the box, open it up and show the camera the damage done to the kittens.
    He said if this went on the news, there would be an international outrage. He said ARE PALESTINIAN CHILDREN WORTH LESS THAN KITTENS ?????
    What is wrong with the world, that nearly 500 children are dead and thousands more are injured, some permanently disabled, and world leaders and people are not screaming outrage !!!!
    Other Gazan children are malnourished and this is a direct responsibility of Israel as the Palestinian children are occupied and therefore at the mercy of Israel for their wellbeing. Not only are these childen being abused by the Israelis they are exterminating and maiming them.
    And yet what we keep hearing ad nauseum on the news is Israel is DEFENDING ITSELF
    My heart bleeds for the Palestinians and their animals.
    The brutality of Israel [and their stupid “friends”] is worse than anything the Nazis did..
    Why can the world not see this.????
    Politics gone mad, and en mass indocrination is to blame.
    Truth is not reported on prime time TV anymore, and we see the consequences in strange attitudes of practically inhuman thinking of mainstream masses.
    The Israelis and zionism have done their job too well and the world is a tangle of lies..

  12. Mary Rizzo says:

    Thanks Kitsia, nice to meet you too!
    I published the article you refer to (written by Vittorio Arrigoni who… 3 days ago was shot at by an Israeli sniper!) I will put the video up later today.
    You are right, people are far more concerned about animals (pets… not all animals, that is) than they are about other human beings. This is one of life’s great mysteries. I recall when there was that fake story about a kitten in a glass jar or something (perhaps you recall). My friends who can’t stand my politics but who still love me for other reasons were sending me shocked emails about this with “Mary, this is so horrible! What can be done?!” I wanted to ask them first of all to quit eating meat if they were really serious about it all, but then thought, they know where I stand on this, so what good would it do to say it now, when they are all up in arms about a photomontage.

    But my point still does stand, and you understood it well… while we are indeed hoping that the animals survive, there are issues that Israel uses to take advantage of this: they do not allow Gazans to attend to their own needs and therefore, what crumbs they throw at them have to come in the guise of charity, to show the world how caring and good Israelis really are if they just leave politics out of it. My point to them would be, take off the F&*ç%*£ blockade and you will see that life can in some way carry on. Don’t expect to kill them for years and then for an hour show mercy and compassion and then sigh saying you didn’t expect any thanks for it…

    It just disgusts me. To refuse certain kinds of “charity” is an act of resistance. We know also that Lions do NOT eat oats… what are these people even on about?! They are waiting for the skeletal looking lions so they can film them and say how horrible Palestinians are to deny food to caged animals…

    if that is not simply an image of every Palestinian in Gaza and how they are caged in and starved to death by Israelis, I do not know what on earth is.

    but Israelis remain blinded to pain of others.

  13. @Shaukat

    There is no connection with the subjects written about in the Talmud, and the proscriptions given to them. Even if similar. If you knew the Torah deeply, you would know that.

    There is a mitzvah to treat the convert, widow and orphan with compassion. That doesn’t mean the orphan, widow or convert are in the same boat.

    – Karin

  14. @Mary Rizzo

    That’s right. But there comes a point when the Israelis can no longer afford to treat Gazan terrorists as equals. Hence the counter-attack. Sparing animals from suffering should not be ignored even when there is human suffering. Israelis are concerned about innocents suffering too. They have given donations to help them, even mothers who had Hamas bullets fired at their heads. The big question was — would Hamas let them take the donations.

    I wonder what has happened to you in your life that has made you hate the Israeli nation so much? Care to share?

  15. Mary Rizzo says:

    @Karin Kloosterman
    I hate injustice, I hate occupation, I hate imperialism and I hate supremacism. This is why I hate Israel. It is not based on justice but rather on ethnic supremacy and it does all it can in a practical way to see that it is carried out.

    I don’t consider the Hamas a terrorist group, and if you look at the photos in the stream on the top, if these were Israeli victims, the world would be up in arms. But they are not, they are those Israel has said are their enemies, and thus it is acceptable for them to slaughter them in this way. It is Israel the terrorist state.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s