(photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Aaron Pomerantz and Yuval Weiss
Last Updated 8/19/2015 at 8:30 PM
Tel Aviv, HaKirya: The Israel Defense Force’s Home Front Command has teamed up with the popular Facebook page Secret Tel Aviv in order to create a real-world door-to-door simulation of the site in case the city experiences a wartime loss of Internet. The Secret Tel Aviv Mobile Team consists of IDF reservists along with veteran Internet trolls of Secret Tel Aviv, under the command of Captain Uri P., a career officer from Home Front Command. The Daily Freier sat down with the Captain to learn more about this exciting development.
“This all started during last summer’s Gaza War. We knew that Hamas was aiming its missiles at Tel Aviv’s critical infrastructure. We also knew that Secret Tel Aviv is responsible for 50% of all commerce in the city for used cosmetics, old shoes, and broken I-Phones. In addition, Secret Tel Aviv is responsible for at least a third of all household repairs in the city, from women asking strange men to come unclog their sinks ‘in exchange for coffee’. So we knew that if Secret Tel Aviv were to go down, it could cripple the city. I mean, how would Olim Hadashim know that they suck and should return to their country of origin if it weren’t for Secret Tel Aviv?” Captain Uri went on to explain how he assembles his team. “If you spend your days on Secret Tel Aviv asking for crowd-sourced advice on your relationship issues, if you try to sell small shampoos that you got from when you stayed in a hotel, if you say ‘Welcome to Israel’ to people who post that their bike got stolen……your country needs you.”
Although the unit officially stood up just this month, The Secret Tel Aviv Team began operating unofficially last summer at the height of the conflict. The Daily Freier spoke to some members of the Tel Aviv public about their experience with Secret Tel Aviv Team.
Alert local Ronit S. described what it was like to see the Secret Tel Aviv Team in action. “The sirens went off at 2 AM, and our building is really old so I grabbed my nieces and nephews and ran down to the basement. We didn’t have any time so we were all in our pajamas. The kids were scared and crying. Then Secret Tel Aviv showed up at the shelter. One of the women started sharing some really personal stuff about what seemed like a serious thyroid condition and asking me for advice. I told her she needed to ask a doctor but she just kept talking. Then another guy showed me an insect that he found in his kitchen and asked me to identify it. Then the Captain said some really inappropriate shit about how I looked in my nightgown.” Ronit continued to describe the night as she fought back tears; “The fact that they risked their lives in order to just totally waste my time……I have never felt more proud to be Israeli.”
Recent Immigrant Jacques L. also described his experience. “I had just made Aliyah from France in June. So when I went to the public shelter during the alert, I didn’t really know anybody. But then Secret Tel Aviv showed up. One guy told me that it was because of me that nobody could afford an apartment, and that I was probably only going to spend 2 months a year there anyway. Also, a woman told me that her washing machine was broken and that she would be really grateful if I came over and fixed it. Then she said ‘wink wink’. I mean I’m French and all but it was still sketchy as hell. Then another guy just started ranting incoherently about FOREX and Binary….It was at that moment that I knew we were all in this together and that Israel is my home. Am Yisrael Chai.”
Captain Uri told the Daily Freier that based on the early success of Secret Tel Aviv, Homefront Command plans to also create a team that in wartime will go door-to-door with the Facebook page “Keeping Olim in Israel” doing everything they can to convince Olim that they’ve made a huge mistake.