Thursday, Jun 20, 2024

My take on the News


Days of Pain and Misery

These are difficult times in Israel. The country is at war, and the number of Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza has climbed past 129. The plight of the hostages still being held in Gaza is also on everyone’s mind, and there is a public debate over how to handle the situation.

We were all devastated by the news that three Israeli hostages were mistakenly killed by IDF soldiers on Friday. The three hostages were Yotam Chaim and Alon Shamriz, who were kidnapped from Kfar Aza, and Samar Talalka of Chura, who was kidnapped from Nir Am. After they were killed, a suspicion arose that they might have been hostages rather than terrorists, and the three bodies were brought to the Shura army base, where they were identified. IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said, “This was a tragic incident that took place in the combat zone, where our forces have encountered many terrorists in recent days, including today, and many fierce battles have been fought. In some cases, our forces even encountered suicide terrorists without guns, as well as attacks in which the terrorists tried to fool our forces and draw them into a trap. Shortly after this incident, there was another encounter with terrorists near the site of the event.”

The hostages had shouted for help and waved a white flag, but the IDF soldiers still believed that they were terrorists who might have been carrying explosives, as had been the case in other similar incidents. Nevertheless, it seems fairly clear that they violated the army’s procedures by opening fire. The IDF spokesman added, “We have conjectured that the three Israelis escaped from their captors or were left alone because of the battles, and in recent days—perhaps just within the 24 hours before their deaths—they reached the area where they were found.”

The mournful mood in Israel isn’t only because of the plight of the hostages, the many people who were killed, and the other tragedies that have taken place. There is another factor contributing to this atmosphere as well: With every passing day, we are increasingly discovering that the Israeli defense establishment was far too complacent, and possibly even asleep on the job, before the massacre on October 7. This week, the army revealed the existence of a massive tunnel in Gaza, so large that cars can travel through it. This is the largest Hamas tunnel known to exist. Its entrance was discovered just a few hundred meters from the community of Netiv Ha’Asarah and from the Erez Crossing, and it extends four kilometers underground, nearly reaching the northern border of the Gaza Strip. This is the largest subterranean terror complex to be revealed to date, after Hamas has been digging tunnels to wage war against Israel for over twenty years. One must certainly wonder how it was possible for the terrorists in Gaza to construct such a massive tunnel without the IDF or Israeli intelligence being aware of it. It certainly seems to indicate that Israel has been plagued by security lapses for many years. It is only thanks to Hashem’s kindness, that there haven’t been many more terror attacks.

Netanyahu and Herzog Lament the Deaths of the Three Hostages

On motzoei Shabbos, Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke about the inadvertent deaths of the three hostages shot by IDF soldiers. “Together with the entire people of Israel, I bow my head with profound sorrow and mourn the deaths of three of our precious sons who were captured, including Yotam Chaim and Samar Fuad al-Talalka,” he said. “This is an unbearable tragedy. The entire State of Israel is grieving tonight. My heart is with the mourning families at this time of their great sorrow. I would like to give encouragement to our brave soldiers, who are dedicated to the holy task of retrieving our hostages even if it means risking their own lives. Even on this difficult night, let us bandage our wounds, learn the lessons that must be derived from this incident, and continue our supreme efforts to bring all of our hostages home in peace.”

President Herzog also released a statement: “The tragic incident… has left all of us reeling with pain and distress. At this time, we must embrace the families whose worlds have been destroyed, and we must join them in their mourning and endless sorrow. Together with them, we also send our embraces to all the families of the hostages who are still in the middle of this ongoing, dreadful nightmare. We pledge to continue doing everything possible to bring them home. The correctness of our path is clear and does not change for a moment. Our goals are clear: to bring back the hostages and to restore security for all the citizens of Israel. The soldiers of the IDF and the security forces are working day and night, risking their own lives to save the hostages from the hands of the Hamas murderers. The commanders, headed by the chief of staff, are conducting a thorough investigation of this tragedy, with full responsibility and transparency, so that all the right conclusions can be drawn immediately, and the war can continue. I would like to give encouragement and an embrace to our soldiers, who are fighting on an extremely complicated battlefield. We are relying on you, we are confident in you, and we salute you. These difficult, complex, and painful moments are a time when we are put to the test as a nation, and we must make it through this time together.”

Families of Murdered Hostages Demand That the Fighting Continue

This tragic episode served as fuel for the propaganda of the political forum of hostages’ families, which consists of left-wing elements. This group seized the tragedy as an opportunity to pressure the government to quickly ensure the release of the remaining hostages at any cost, even if it means ending the fighting in Gaza and releasing all the terrorist murderers in Israeli prisons. This view is not shared by officials in the defense establishment, and many of the other families of hostages are equally opposed to making any concessions. The forum of hostages’ families has been working hard to ensure that the captives are brought home, but they are working equally hard to have Netanyahu removed from power immediately. More and more people have been losing faith in the forum, which appears to be little more than a band of Kaplan protestors with a different name.

On Sunday morning, at the meeting of the cabinet in the Kirya in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Netanyahu read aloud a letter from the “Forum of Heroism,” a group consisting of dozens of family members of soldiers who were killed in battle. The letter calls on the government to continue waging war in Gaza until Hamas has been completely destroyed. “The people are strong and their spirit is brave,” the bereaved families wrote. “The civilians and heroic soldiers are determined to achieve total victory. You have a mandate to fight; you do not have a mandate to halt the fighting in the middle. This is the will of the fallen, and it is our duty to the living. We will not be able to sit in silence until the objectives have been achieved.”

Netanyahu introduced the letter with the following comments: “Today, the cabinet will receive an overview of the security situation. However, I would first like to read to you a letter that I received this morning from dozens of family members of our heroic fallen soldiers.” After reading the contents of the letter aloud, Netanyahu said, “I would like to respond to those precious families. The will of the fallen is indeed guiding us, and we will fight until the end. We will achieve all of our goals: eliminating Hamas, freeing all of our hostages, and guaranteeing that Gaza will never again become a hub of terror and incitement against the State of Israel and a breeding ground for attacks against Israelis. We will continue fighting until the end, for the sake of the fallen and to guarantee our survival here in Eretz Yisroel.”

Thirteen Soldiers Killed by Friendly Fire

Last Wednesday was virtually a day of mourning in our small country. Ten levayos were held on that day, for ten soldiers who had been killed in Gaza the day before. The deaths of ten soldiers, including a colonel, in battle on Tuesday in the northern Gaza Strip spread sorrow throughout the country. Nine of those soldiers—seven from the Golani Brigade and two from Unit 669, which specializes in rescue operations—were killed in the neighborhood of Shejaiya in the northern area of Gaza City. Another soldier, from Battalion 614, was killed in a different battle in the northern Gaza Strip. Four more soldiers were seriously wounded in battle, one in the same battle in Shejaiya that led to the deaths of nine soldiers and three others in combat elsewhere in the Gaza Strip.

I would like to make two observations about the deaths of IDF soldiers in Gaza. First, it was revealed that thirteen of the Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza thus far were killed by friendly fire, in errors that were made due to a case of mistaken identity, an accidental gunshot, or the like. This is extremely painful to hear, even though the deaths took place in a war that was impossible to avoid. Seven other soldiers were killed in an “operational accident” rather than in combat with terrorists—and when the army refers to an incident as an operational accident, it means that the tragedy could have been avoided with a some caution. This is extremely distressing, although the army has tried to explain the circumstances that led to these mistakes. IDF officials have explained that the number of casualties is a result of the incredibly trying conditions in Gaza. The soldiers are operating in a very small, crowded area, where large numbers of soldiers are trying to combat an enemy that is attacking them from above ground and below, from the front and from the rear. Military officials have added that the soldiers’ fatigue, problems with maintaining command and control, and disciplinary issues have also contributed to some of these painful results.

My second observation relates to another incident that the IDF recently cleared for publication: The bodies of Eden Zacharia and Ziv Dado were returned to Israel from Gaza after an operation conducted by IDF soldiers. The information about the location of the bodies was received from Hamas terrorists who were captured by Israel. Eden Zacharia was an Israeli citizen who was abducted from the music festival in Reim and was listed as a hostage until her body was discovered. It is now known that she was murdered on the day of the massacre, and the terrorists brought her body to Gaza. The family is now sitting shiva. Ziv Dado’s story is similar: He was killed on October 7, and his body was taken to Gaza by the terrorists. The Israeli forces were not previously aware of his death, but his body has now been returned. He was 36 years old at the time of his death. On Thursday, Dado was interred in a military ceremony at the cemetery in the city of Rechovot.

The IDF operation for the retrieval of their bodies gave rise to a fundamental ethical question that has been hotly debated: To what extent should living soldiers be endangered for the purpose of retrieving the remains of others who were killed? In this case, the retrieval of the bodies actually cost lives. The operation was approved by the war cabinet, of which Minister Gadi Eizenkot is a member, and resulted in the deaths of two soldiers: Gal Meir Eizenkot, the minister’s son, and Eyal Meir Berkowitz. May Hashem avenge their blood.

Sirens on Friday Night, a Stabbing at the Rantisi Junction

On Friday night, an air raid siren interrupted Kabbolas Shabbos in Yerushalayim. We were already reciting Lechu Neranenah when the first siren began wailing, followed shortly thereafter by another. Before long, a few booms were heard, which were identified by some of the mispallelim as the sounds of interceptions. That meant that the missiles did not strike the area; instead, they were intercepted in the sky by the Iron Dome. On motzoei Shabbos, we were told that a missile had landed in the area of Gush Etzion, which is not far from Yerushalayim, and that another missile had landed in Beit Shemesh.

On Sunday evening, there was another small-scale terror attack, when an older IDF soldier with a high rank entered a store at a gas station at the Rantisi Junction in Shomron and was stabbed in the back by an Arab. The stabbing may have been partly motivated by his rank insignia or his yarmulke, but whatever the case may be, it was certainly fueled by hate. The stabber fled in the direction of Rantis while soldiers in the vicinity shot at him. At the same time, IDF forces were called to the scene and began erecting roadblocks around the village for the purpose of apprehending the terrorist. The stabbing was reported on the Magen David Adom hotline at 4:37 p.m. The wounded victim received treatment from paramedics who arrived at the scene, together with IDF medics. He taken to Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.

This terror attack came on the heels of two shooting attacks in the region of Yehuda and Shomron about a week ago. The first shooting left an IDF soldier with light to moderate wounds near the village of Yaabed, near Mevo Dotan. A short time later, terrorists opened fire at the Immatain Junction on a car occupied by an IDF reservist. In this case, the shooting did not result in damage, and there were no injuries. But that is what passes for routine in the area of Yehuda and the Shomron.

Graffiti at the Kever of Yehoshua Bin Nun

Speaking of the evils of Arab terror, here is another story. The kever of Yehoshua bin Nun in the village of Kfil Harit in Shomron was recently vandalized, mainly with hateful graffiti. This week, the IDF and the Shomron Regional Council refurbished the kever, repainting the entire compound and erasing the graffiti. The words “death to Jews” were painted over in white by the head of the council, Yossi Dagan, and by Lieutenant Colonel Shmulik Friedman. After about two hours of volunteer work, the kever complex had been fully repainted.

The graffiti inscribed in the kever included expressions of hate for Israel and support for Hamas and the October 7 massacre. Names of terrorists were also scrawled on the wall, including the name of Udai Tamimi, who murdered Israeli soldier Noa Lazar in Yerushalayim, as well as the name of Saria al-Quds, the military wing of Islamic Jihad.

The kever of Yehoshua bin Nun is under the auspices of the civil administration of Kever Yosef and other holy sites, a division of the Shomron Regional Council. This site is visited by tens of thousands of mispallelim every year, who participate in a number of group visits organized by the council, accompanied by IDF soldiers and security guards. The kevorim of Kalev ben Yefuneh and of Nun, the father of Yehoshua, are likewise located in the village of Kfil Harit (the town of Timnas Cheres in Tanach), which is located between Barkan and Ariel.

Polls Portend Political Upheaval

Although it would be a mistake to believe that political polls are always accurate predictors, they can certainly indicate the trends that are underway. In fact, even polls that are conducted with a deliberate agenda can still be informative. Right now, it is quite clear that Yair Lapid’s party, Yesh Atid, is in the process of being crushed, while Benny Gantz’s National Unity Party is on the rise. Each of the two parties is moving slowly but surely in its respective direction. Meanwhile, the Likud is falling while Lieberman’s party, Yisroel Beiteinu, is rising, and the remaining parties (the chareidi parties, the right-wing parties, the Arabs, and the left) are more or less remaining in the same position. It is also interesting to note the results of the polls that include other political parties that haven’t yet been established, such as a party headed by Naftoli Bennett or one under the leadership of former Mossad director Yossi Cohen, who is widely viewed as a potential successor to Netanyahu.

Let’s start with the results of a poll published last Thursday. According to this poll, Yesh Atid is continuing its decline and is shown winning only ten mandates in the next Knesset election, a significant drop from the 24 seats that it currently holds. The National Unity Party, meanwhile, continues its upward trend with 33 mandates, while the Likud comes in as the second largest party in the Knesset, with 18 mandates. A hypothetical party headed by Naftoli Benntt is shown earning twelve mandates. Yisroel Beiteinu, led by Avigdor Lieberman, is polling at eight mandates, and Otzma Yehudit, headed by Itamar Ben-Gvir, is likewise shown receiving eight mandates, while Shas and United Torah Judaism would each receive seven. At the bottom of the list is Raam (Mansour Abbas’s party) with five mandates; Religious Zionism, headed by Betzalel Smotrich, with four mandates; and Chadash-Taal and Meretz, each with four mandates. According to his poll, the Labor party would not even come close to crossing the electoral threshold, with only 1.6 percent of the vote, which is the equivalent of about two mandates. In the last election, it was Meretz that failed to cross the threshold. The results, however, show the right-wing bloc dropping from its current 64 seats to a total of 44 seats, which is not a pleasant scenario to contemplate.

Another poll, conducted a week earlier, yielded similar results. It showed the National Unity Party soaring to 37 mandates, while the Likud, headed by Netanyahu, would drop to eighteen and Yesh Atid would fall to fifteen mandates. As for the other parties, Shas would be left with nine mandates, Yisroel Beiteinu would strengthen with a total of eight mandates, and UTJ and Otzma Yehudit would get seven mandates each. Religious Zionism would end up with five mandates, and two Arab parties, Raam and Chadash-Taal, would each receive five seats as well. Meretz would cross the threshold with four mandates, but the Labor and Balad parties would not make it across the threshold at all. The participants were also asked if they would vote for a new party headed by Yossi Cohen; this theoretical party received 12 mandates in the poll, coming at the expense of Gantz and Lapid. A different hypothetical party headed by Bennett, meanwhile, was shown receiving nineteen mandates! The Likud party under Netanyahu was not shown to be affected at all by the introduction of new parties.

These two polls seem to indicate the current trends on the political scene; however, many experts believe that the Likud will return to its original level of popularity after the war draws to an end.

Outrage Over Yuval Kastelmans Death

Yuval Doron Kastelman, as you may recall, was an Israeli civilian who hurried to neutralize the terrorists committing a shooting attack at the entrance to Yerushalayim and was mistakenly shot and killed by an Israeli soldier who thought he was a terrorist as well. This incident has exploded into a scandal of mammoth proportions. Kastelman’s body was exhumed from his grave on the orders of a judge so that a medical examiner could determine which bullet killed him. The judge gave the order and the family agreed to the exhumation, but the police insisted that there was no need for it. State Prosecutor Amit Eisman has now instructed the Department of Internal Police Investigations to open an inquiry into the way the investigation of Kastelman’s death was handled by the police before the case was transferred to the military police. It appears that there are some indications that the police did not conduct the investigation properly at the outset, and there may even have been criminal misconduct involved.

The police have expressed surprise at Eisman’s decision. They insist that they acted with all the requisite responsibility and caution; they took great care to preserve the dignity of the deceased and made sure that all the findings were available in the event that it became necessary to press criminal charges against someone. Nevertheless, Kastelman’s family is furious with the police. “We all hope to see a quality investigation and that someone will clean house so that our trust can be restored in the government and law enforcement,” they said.

Meanwhile, the parents of Aviad Frija, the soldier who shot Kastelman, wrote an emotional letter to Kastelman’s parents. “We share in your sorrow,” Frija’s parents wrote. “We would have preferred to tell you this in a face-to-face meeting with you, but we understand that it is too difficult for you to do that at this time. It is important for us to convey our sincere feelings of distress to you, and we are therefore turning to you publicly. We are grieving and pained by the tragic death of Yuval of blessed memory, who acted with supreme heroism and courage in the face of wicked terrorists. We have no doubt that these actions were the product of the values with which he was raised and which he was taught. We have come to know Yuval from the reports in the media. He is a hero of Israel and one of the greatest children of the land. He is a source of pride to his family, his friends, and the entire Jewish people. He risked his life with great self-sacrifice, and he saved many lives. All of our family, especially our son Aviad and his wife Miriam, are reeling with pain and sorrow over the horrific terror attack and are mourning and tormented over Yuval’s death. We are very sorry for the pain that was caused to you due to the manner in which the authorities investigated the case, and the additional pain that you experienced due to the late autopsy. To remove any doubt, we must tell you that neither we nor our son Aviad had any role in this.”

Signing their names and Aviad’s name to the letter, the parents add, “Our son Aviad has been mentally broken since the terror attack. He is used to a simple working life, and he has a true desire to do good to others, to the point of risking his own life. He was on his way to Gaza when he encountered a genuine life-threatening situation, and he leapt into action during the terror attack to save people, whoever they may have been, from the terrorists.”

The Strange Story of the Arab Truck Drivers

Take a look at the following story, the type of incident that could happen only in Israel, and I will allow you to draw your own conclusions.

It was recently reported that thirty Arab truck drivers employed by the Jafora Tabori company will be losing their jobs. Jafora is a manufacturer of soft drinks, the second largest such company in Israel. It also provides distribution services for the two leading vendors of mineral water in Israel, Mei Eden and Ein Gedi Mineral Waters. The company has a fleet of trucks, and it provides those vehicles, along with marketing services, to other businesses.

Now, why are those thirty drivers being dismissed? All of those drivers are Muslim; the group includes not only Muslims but Bedouins as well. You might be tempted to conclude that the drivers are being fired because of the war. After all, it is difficult to trust Muslims in Israel today, many of whom do not bother hiding their support for Hamas. Even in Israeli hospitals, many patients are hesitant to accept treatment from Arabs on the medical staff. But that is not the reason for this decision.

Jafora Tabori recently lost its contract with Mei Eden, and it searched for a different client company to take its place. It soon found that Carmel Mizrachi, the leading manufacturer of wine in Israel, was interested in taking advantage of its services. In addition to producing wine, Carmel Mizrachi recently entered the beer market, signing an agreement with several international companies to import and sell their products. The company is now selling Corona, the beer produced in Mexico, as well as Stella Artois and Hoegaarden, both of which are products of Belgium. Carmel Mizrachi took over this enterprise from a different Israeli company, which recently lost its contract to market the beers.

All of this is fairly humdrum financial news and should be of little interest to us. The story becomes interesting only because of the real reason for the drivers’ dismissal: When Jafora Tabori signed its agreement with Carmel Mizrachi, a group of its longstanding truck drivers announced that they were not willing to transport wine or beer. These Muslim workers claimed that the transportation of alcoholic beverages violates their religious laws; they maintain that Islam prohibits not only drinking alcohol but also selling it, transporting it, and even touching it. They asked to be assigned only to the transportation of non-alcoholic beverages, but the company responded that any worker who refused to handle all of their products would be viewed as having resigned.

That is the story, and I invite you to take it as you please.

Putting the Prison Service on the Spot

I have written numerous times in the past about the suffering of inmates in the Israeli prison system. Almost every prison contains a wing for observant prisoners. I am acquainted with an inmate who was convicted of defrauding the tax authorities, although there are some who claim that the conviction was false. This man recently notified me about various restrictions imposed on the inmates by the Prison Service, ostensibly due to the war, including the abrogation or curtailment of furloughs for the prisoners.

At my request, MK Simon Moshiashvili submitted an urgent parliamentary query about the denial of furloughs and visits to prisoners. “Why are the children of these inmates being punished?” he asked. The Prison Service had tried to argue that the prisoners’ lives would be endangered if they were outside the prison, but Moshiashvili rejected this argument, correctly pointing out that they are not exactly protected in the prisons either.

Two weeks ago, the minister tasked with responding to the query announced that he did not have an answer to the question, due to a “mishap.” The nature of that mishap was the simple fact that the Prison Service did not have a logical answer. The response came last Wednesday, following a meeting of the upper echelons of the Prison Service. Minister Ben-Gvir admitted, “There were emergency procedures in place. The Prison Service met yesterday, and the furloughs will be restored to normal.” That meeting, as well as the fact that this injustice was rectified, can be attributed to the fact that the query was submitted. The minister was also asked, “For how many hours does a prisoner actually leave the prison when he is entitled to 48, 72, or 96 hours of leave?” He refrained from responding to this. He also evaded the question of whether all the inmates in the prison system have immediate access to a fortified area in the event of an air raid siren. Like his predecessors, Ben-Gvir deemed a prison furlough to be a favor to the prisoner; other ministers have described it as a privilege, which can be shortened or canceled by the Prison Service on a whim.

After the additional questions were asked, Ben-Gvir said, “I certainly think that the furloughs must be restored to normal…. I will relay these instructions to the Prison Service.” Moshiashvili also raised the issue of the exorbitant prices paid by prisoners for telephone calls, but Ben-Gvir evaded the question.

We can conclude, though, that if thousands of prison inmates, including some religious ones, finally receive the rights they deserve, this parliamentary query will have played a major role in it.

A Moment of Fright in Kiryat Sefer

Let me now share a true story with you. This incident took place last week, and I can assure you that the account is accurate, as I am personally acquainted with the people who experienced it.

A woman was sitting behind the counter in a housewares store in Kiryat Sefer when two uniformed men opened the store. The proprietress turned pale, gripped by terror. “Why are you here?” she demanded as the two men began perusing the shelves.

The men looked at her in puzzlement and then vanished deeper into the store, wandering around as if they were searching for something. The woman hurried after them, trembling with undisguised anxiety. “Let’s just get this over with!” she exclaimed. “Tell me, and get it done with!” Finally, she collapsed into a nearby chair.

The proprietress is a righteous woman who hails from a distinguished family. She is the daughter of a prominent talmid chochom. She has also experienced her fair share of hardships in life. She has raised a family of bnei Torah and practitioners of chessed, and one of her sons enlisted in the Nachal Chareidi brigade in the army. He has been in Gaza since Simchas Torah, while his wife and children have been shuttling back and forth between the homes of various family members. At the sight of the two uniformed patrons in her store, the woman had concluded that they had come to inform her that something terrible had happened to her son.

“Please, tell me what happened!” she exclaimed, her voice shaking with dread.

At first, the two men thought that she had taken leave of her senses, but then they realized the reason for her distress. “We are police officers, not soldiers,” they told her. “We came here to buy a kettle; we are not the bearers of bad news. Besides,” they added, “the army always sends a doctor when they have such news to convey.”

The color immediately returned to the woman’s face as she regained her composure. “I am sorry,” she said. “I am simply unable to sleep at night because of my son.” She quickly removed two kettles from a shelf and thrust them into the officers’ hands. “Take these, free of charge,” she told them.

Four Words That Changed the Course of History

I may have quoted this idea last year, and perhaps the year before that as well, but it makes no difference. This is a thought that Rav Uri Zohar used to reiterate every year when we read these parshiyos, and it bears repeating.

Rav Uri Zohar was exquisitely meticulous in his observance of the mitzvos bein adam l’chaveiro, just as he refused to compromise in the slightest on the requirements of any mitzvah bein adam laMakom. To highlight the significance of a good deed for another person, he often made the following observation: Yosef Hatzaddik’s rise to power in Mitzrayim began when he was released from prison and brought to Pharaoh to interpret his dream. This resulted in his being installed as the viceroy of Mitzrayim, which placed him in a position to provide for his family during the famine and to have them brought to Mitzrayim as well. And this all began with four simple words: “Madua pneichem ra’im hayom—Why are your faces downcast today?” This was the question that Yosef asked the two royal officials who were imprisoned along with him, the sar hamashkim and the sar ha’ofim. Ostensibly, there was no reason for him to take an interest in the moods of these two prisoners, especially when he was immersed in a dreadful predicament of his own, yet he did not ignore their distress, and he inquired about their well-being. There is no posuk or parshah in the Torah that has been written in vain, and there is clearly a lesson to be learned here as well: We should always be sensitive to the needs and feelings of others, regardless of the circumstances. In this case, a simple question set a chain of events in motion that proved to be pivotal for the Jewish people’s future.




Walking the Walk Have you ever had the experience of recognizing someone in the distance simply by the way they walk? I have, many times.

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