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In Israel, social media threatens sacred duty

The flow of information through social networks challenges one of the most difficult tasks of Israeli society: the ritual of informing the families of fallen soldiers that a loved one has died in battle.
Dana, the sister of Israeli soldier Tsafrir Bar-Or, mourns during his funeral in Holon near Tel Aviv July 21, 2014. Israeli forces killed 10 Palestinian militants who slipped across the border from Gaza through hidden tunnels on Monday, the military said, as the death toll from the two-week conflict passed 500 amid growing international calls for an end. Non-stop attacks lifted the Palestinian death toll to 496, including almost 100 children, since fighting started on July 8, Gaza health officials said. Isr

For days now, Israelis have been following the fighting in the Gaza Strip. The sense of anxiety across the country has been increasing day by day. Despite the experience they’ve amassed during all the wars and battles since the founding of the state, Israelis still have a hard time coming to terms with the steep human cost that they are forced to pay. First and foremost, every soldier killed at war is a tragic loss to his family. Almost at the same time, however, the casualties quickly become part of the national mythos of the fallen soldier.

The war in Gaza is turning out to be especially brutal. Nowhere near this many soldiers have fallen in such a short time — 25 casualties in just four days — since the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006. The number of victims is sending new tremors through Israeli society, which has difficulty dealing with the loss. While this society may be considered strong in terms of its military might, it is also extremely fragile when it comes to dealing with its fallen soldiers.

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