In Pumpkin Flowers, Matti Friedman provides a brief, finely written account of an army outpost in Israel’s security zone in southern Lebanon in the 1990s and the men who served there. ‘Pumpkin’ was the outpost’s name, while ‘flowers’ was the Israeli army’s code word for wounded soldiers. The term, writes Friedman, reflects “a floral preoccupation in our military intended to bestow beauty on ugliness and to allow soldiers distance from the things they might have to describe.” The Pumpkin itself was far from poetic, a “rectangle of earthen embankments the size of a basketball court” where there was “nothing unnecessary to the purposes of allowing you to kill, preventing you from being killed, and keeping you from losing your mind in the meantime.”
A State Department official deleted emails that included information about a secret campaign to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the country’s last election, according to a Senate investigatory committee that determined the Obama administration transferred tax funds to anti-Netanyahu groups.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the nation’s foremost pro-Israel lobby, pursued a quiet campaign to weaken pro-Israel language in the Republican Party’s 2012 platform, according to video obtained by the Washington Free Beacon and sources who attended the 2012 platform committee deliberations.