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Reporters on the Job

January 2, 2009

Reliving Samurai history: An archer takes aim at the annual Yabusame Festival in Zushi, Japan. The festival honors Gen. Minamoto no Yoritomo, who practiced archery on horseback 800 years ago.

Itsuo Inouye/AP

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Tel Aviv Chatter About Rockets: This week, Hamas militants have demonstrated an ability to fire rockets further from Gaza than ever before. Correspondent Joshua Mitnick, who resides in Tel Aviv, says that has clearly unnerved some residents of the Israeli coastal city 40 miles from the Gaza border (see story).

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On Wednesday, Hamas rockets hit a school in Beersheba, Israel, more than 20 miles from Gaza.

During the 2006 war in Lebanon with Hezbollah, residents of Tel Aviv with were derided by their countrymen for continuing to patronize cafes and sun themselves on the beach while Israelis closer to the front lines sat in bomb shelters.

In recent days, Josh says that "the one break that I have from reporting are my nightly constitutional walks to the local park with my dog, Zack, where a local group of dog owners congregate to socialize about their canines and sometimes about politics."

"This isn't Amsterdam," one dog owner told Josh, explaining that any new cease-fire with Hamas would have to be forged through 'Middle East negotiations,' a reference to combat.

News that Hamas rockets hit a city only a half an hour drive south spurred defiance among some of the dog owners, says Josh. "Dismissive of the threat of the longer-range Katyusha rockets coming from Gaza, one owner told me, 'We've survived Saddam's scuds – they destroyed entire buildings,' a reference to the 1991 Gulf War.

Others reacted with dark humor: "When one dog owner searched in the darkness to scoop up some droppings," says Josh, "a friend advised him to 'check according to the range of fire.' "

David Clark Scott

World editor

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