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Name That Operation

Raining summer or casting lead? (Photo: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

As we approach the two-year anniversary of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, I have been thinking about potential names for a strike on Iran.

But first a word on the naming process from Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev, who was quoted in Haaretz last year registering his distaste for “Cast Lead”. Apparently the loveliness of the operation’s Hebrew name—adapted from a poem about Hanukkah dreidels—gets lost in translation:

The Israel Defense Forces chooses its names by some computer or by some system which I don’t understand. And the truth is that the Hebrew name Oferet Yetzuka sounds lovely. It’s the translation into English which sounds inappropriate”.

In reality, using the word “lovely” to describe the name of a military operation that killed 1400 people in 22 days might itself sound inappropriate. But maybe it’s not Regev’s fault. Maybe the Israeli government also chooses its spokesmen by computer.

Luckily, the IDF computer may have a chance to redeem itself with Iran. Rather than select from the database of Hanukkah poems, it might try the database of foreign literature, which has produced such past successes as Operation Grapes of Wrath (1996) and the massacre of 106 refugees at the United Nations compound in Qana, Lebanon. Option for Iran: One Thousand and One Nights.

As for Operation Locked Kindergarten (Gaza, 2006), the casualties of which predictably included children, it is not clear whether the IDF computer was drawing in this instance from the database of sadism or the database of clever irony. Some combination of both might produce an Iranian option along the lines of “Radioactive Waste”.

Regev, however, might prefer something softer, in the tradition of Operation Summer Rains (again, Gaza, 2006) or Operation Sea Breeze, the 2010 attack on the humanitarian aid flotilla endeavoring to break the Gaza siege. In this case, the IDF computer need only consult its database of perfume names.

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