‘I come down here for every war,” said a burly man who walked with a slight limp. He was one of two men who had ambled over to a press lookout across from Kibbutz Sa’ad on Route 232 that overlooks a wheat field abutting the border of the Gaza Strip two and a half kilometers away. A half dozen press teams were there last Saturday night, as well as many others – people who had come to watch the war.

The burly man carried a small camera with a huge white Canon L-series 21-times magnification zoom telephoto lens. The lens was his pride as he asked the journalists, “What lens do you have?” Operation Protective Edge, which was launched on July 8 to thwart Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli cities, has brought out a diverse crowd of spectators to various communities surrounding the Gaza Strip. The phenomenon was immediately apparent on the first day of the operation at a lookout with the metal figure of a black horse next to it on Route 34 across from Sderot. Access to the lookout is via a gas station and a dirt road that leads to several large wooden steps. The lookout has a tree from which hangs a swing. Around noon, two yeshiva boys took turns on the swings, watching air strikes in Beit Hanun in the northeast Gaza Strip. It was surreal because the Arab houses are only several kilometers away, and mortars had landed in the vicinity of the lookout that morning.

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