Schnitzel the Cat

Israeli society has ensured that stray cats in Tel Aviv don’t go hungry — while making sure the people of the Gaza Strip do.

(Kashfi Halford / Flickr)

In my last blog post, I marveled at Israeli resilience in managing to survive — with the help of Facebook and other life-saving devices — the wanton slaughter Israel’s military is currently inflicting on the Gaza Strip. One hundred seventy-two persons have thus far been killed in the coastal prison, but at least the Palestinians don’t have to listen to air raid sirens.

As it turns out, humans are not the only heroes in wartime Israel. A Jerusalem Post article headlined “Missiles are no match for Schnitzel the Cat” reports that an Israeli cat “escape[d] unscathed after missile shrapnel fell directly on his tree Sunday afternoon.” The shrapnel, we are told, was the result of a rocket interception by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. The scene is captured in a twelve-second security camera video, at the end of which “Schnitzel the Cat hops down from the same tree and runs home, presumably to the joy of his owners.”

Since said owners apparently haven’t been spoken to, it’s not clear how the Post has determined the cat’s name. But hey, it sounds good.

More importantly, if incoming rockets from the Gaza Strip are “no match” even for Schnitzel, why is Israel fanatically razing the territory in an ostensible effort to stop them?

Those in air-raid-siren-plagued southern Israel who are unable to properly attend to their pets have been encouraged to deposit them at a shelter in Tel Aviv, because, according to SPCA Israel’s chairwoman, “[i]t is very important to us to prevent distress both to animals and to residents of the South.”

The spokeswoman for another Israeli organization called Let the Animals Live has meanwhile urged the inhabitants of central Israel to take in southern “foster dogs in order to remove them from the line of fire.”

Of course, letting the human beings live in the Gaza Strip is a bit too much to ask of the Israeli military. But do Palestinian animals have it any better?

Over the years, Israeli military escapades have wrought all manner of destruction on the animal kingdom. In 2004, a bulldozing spree took out Rafah Zoo, killing — among others — ducks, tortoises, an ostrich, and a kangaroo.

A 2012 article in the Telegraph recalls that, in the aftermath of Israel’s bloody Operation Cast Lead (2008–9), a zoo in Gaza City “resorted to painting a donkey with zebra stripes to replace two zebras killed during the Israeli offensive.”

The lion at the Khan Yunis zoo also perished, prompting the zoo’s owner to pursue “rudimentary taxidermy techniques learnt on the internet” in order to preserve the semblance of the “mangy cat” and an array of other deceased animals.

In Palestine, it seems, cats are lucky if they get one life.

In Israel, on the other hand, the disproportionate concern for animals — at least those existing within Israel itself — helps the war-crime-happy nation maintain the façade of a humane society. This society has ensured that stray cats in Tel Aviv don’t go hungry while making sure that the people of the Gaza Strip do; that the line of fire goes through Palestinians and not Israeli dogs.