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New children's book tells story of kittens rescued from Gaza
Tzuk and Eitan were rescued from the fighting zone in the Strip during Operation Protective Edge by an IDF soldier, who is now the protagonist of a new optimistic and colorful book for children.

Meet the kittens Tzuk and Eitan, who were born in Gaza, found a home in Israel after Operation Protective Edge ("Tzuk Eitan" in Hebrew) and are now starring in a new children's book.

 

 

The cats, one white and the other ginger, were rescued from the fighting zone by one IDF soldier during Protective Edge. Their story has now been made into a children's book written by Nurit Sternberg.


Illustration from the book: Matan and the kittens (Photo: Gadi Kabalo)
Illustration from the book: Matan and the kittens (Photo: Gadi Kabalo)

 

The soldier who rescued the cats, Matan Meshi, who is studying industrial engineering at the Ben-Gurion University, is the main protagonist of the book, titled "Tzuk and Eitan Find a Loving Home."

 

Meshi, a fighter in the Ground Forces, was called for reserve duty at the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, and along with his friends went into the Gaza Strip for a series of missions in built-up areas in the central Gaza Strip.

 

Matan Meshi (Photo: Dana Kopel)
Matan Meshi (Photo: Dana Kopel)

 

"All of a sudden, a weak yowling was heard, and then another very weak, shaky yowling, and then a third. 'What is there in the corner?' Matan called with wonder. Two pairs of eyes sparkled in the darkness. Matan shone his light at the whispering, bustling corner, and then another weakling meow was heard. Matan saw two skinny, gaunt cats, and he felt sorry for the hungry and abandoned kittens."

 

Matan fed the cats with food from his battles rations and gave them some water.

 

Illustration from the book: Matan feeding the kittens (Photo: Gadi Kabalo)
Illustration from the book: Matan feeding the kittens (Photo: Gadi Kabalo)

 

The ginger and white kittens spent three days with the fighters, who became attached to them and decided to bring them back to Israel in a cardboard box.

 

And so the book describes it: "With a heavy bag on his back and his weapon on his shoulder, Matan marched with his friends along their journey, while the white and ginger cats were closed up in a cardboard box."

 

Illustration from the book: Matan and his friends taking the kittens to Israel (Photo: Gadi Kabalo)
Illustration from the book: Matan and his friends taking the kittens to Israel (Photo: Gadi Kabalo)

 

Once out of Gaza, the fighters got to Doron Elbaz's refreshment station at the entrance to Moshav Maslul. Their next mission was to find the kittens a loving home.

 

Elbaz spread the story and the kittens were soon adopted by Kristina, a young woman from Tel Aviv. They have been living with her since.

 

Author Nurit Sternberg (Photo: Yariv Katz)
Author Nurit Sternberg (Photo: Yariv Katz)

 

Elbaz spread the story and the kittens were soon adopted by Kristina, a young woman from Tel Aviv. They have been living with her since.

 

Author Nurit Sternberg from Moshav Sde Warburg, who is a friend of Matan's mother, decided to write a children's book about the operation and the kittens' adoption. Despite the fact the book takes place in war time, she wrote an optimistic and colorful book which makes for a light reading.

 

"I found the story really touching. It opens up a window into what went on in the soldiers' hearts, and how they did not lose their compassion and gentleness despite the difficult operation," Sternberg said.

 

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