The Lexicon of War

A guide to some of the vocabulary you need to guide you through the Israel-Gaza war.

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Smoke trailing rockets fired from Gaza at Israel in July 2014.
Smoke trailing rockets fired from Gaza at Israel in July 2014.Credit: Reuters

Trying to figure out the Israel-Gaza conflict? Here's a guide to some of the war words you'll need.

Tzuk: Cast Lead II
Why is the English name of Operation Protective Edge so different from the Hebrew version? And what does Tzuk Eitan really mean anyway?

Otef Aza: 'Wrapping round' the Gaza Strip
Are the border kibbutzim the 'Gaza envelope' or, to revive a failed Hebrew word, Israel's condom?

Nikhsei tzon barzel: What does Israeli lit have to do with Iron Dome?
The ironclad asset of everlasting cultural treasures.

Azaka: Time to find some cover
Once it was the wail of Mordecai discovering that Haman meant to kill all the Jews. Now it's the siren warning of a Hamas rocket attack.

Haslama: Escalating violence, courtesy of ascending angels
What earthquakes, musical scales and missile fire have in common.

Mivtza: a raw deal, in every respect
The two disparate meanings of this word - sale and operation- came together in my Facebook newsfeed this week, when a neighbor called for Israel to take a harder line against the Palestinians.

Mamad: Where to go when the rocket siren sounds?
If you’re seeking shelter when the siren shrieks, a mamad is the place to go. But afterward, if what you really need is a prayer, well, the other kind of mamad will also do the job.

Boom: When things explode
When rockets burst in the air, Israelis love to make us of this evocative onomatopoeia.

HYD: To err is human; to take revenge is God's business
This abbreviation after the names of the dead doesn't mean they were in line for the throne.

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