Operation Pillar of Defense: Why Israel chose this Biblical name

I read the other day that “Pillar of Defense” was a Biblical name, but I couldn’t find that exact phrase in scripture. So I did a little digging and found that it’s actually an allusion to something in Hebrew that is scriptural. Here’s the explanation from Tablet Magazine:

Where does the name come from? In Hebrew, the campaign has been dubbed עמוד ענן (“Amud Anan,” or “Pillar of Cloud”). The phrase is a direct biblical allusion to the divine cloud which guided the Israelites through the desert and shielded them from those who might do them harm. As a couple representative verses from Exodus 14:19-20 state:

Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel.

The midrash on this section—which is cited by Rashi, the most famous Jewish biblical commentator, and taught in many Hebrew schools—elaborates:

They [the Egyptians] shot arrows and catapult stones at them, but the angel and cloud caught them.

For a campaign intended to halt the barrage of rockets currently raining down on southern Israel, “Pillar of Cloud” is thus a particularly apt title. Just as the cloud protected the Israelites from Egyptian projectiles, so to does the IDF hope to protect Israel’s citizens. However, a literal translation of עמוד ענן—i.e. “Pillar of Cloud”—fails to convey the meaning of the biblical allusion to a lay audience. As such, the IDF chose “Pillar of Defense” as the campaign’s English designation, a conceptual translation which makes clear the intended meaning of the Hebrew.

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  • That’s cool.

    • bbitter

      cool and smart. By invoking God as their strength, they are giving glory to Him, and that is a step in unlocking the powers of heaven in their favor.

      let their enemies be put on notice.

      • So your “god” is allowed to take sides and have favorite nations? What a shitty god, No wonder religious people are so fucked up. You look at him like 12 year olds look at wrestlers.

        • bbitter

          Your profanity is very telling my friend, as is your response with a shallow interpretation. Never looking to what is really there, are you? Was your response meant to infuriate me or others, or were you hoping to convince someone? BTW, you fail to take ‘the high moral ground’ when you use the F-word.

          Is God ‘taking sides’, or is one taking HIS side? Is a car taking sides when it starts for the person who uses the key to start it correctly, over the one who simply kicks the tires and screams at it for ‘not working’?

          I seriously doubt you understand the definition of “God”. And it’s more like a 2yr. old looking at his invincible father, as opposed to a 12yr. old looking at a wrestler; I know Father can’t lose. That’s what makes him “God”.

          …besides, atheist and secular nations have perpetrated the most horrifying atrocities known to man, and you think the religious people are ‘messed-up’? You have a jaded view of history my friend.

          …have a nice day.

          • AleKx 778

            lol. The whole “failing to take the high moral ground because of profanity” just isn’t there. I’m not being moral, just logical. Something a lot of religious people (including you, I see), fail to do.
            The whole subservient attitude towards a figure you’ve never met, who’s only evidence is a “book” who’s been rewritten countless times, depending on who’s interests it served better, is in no way a “source” for morals. Yea, sure, if you wanna’ practice slavery, sleep with your slaves (like Abraham and Moses did), give your daughters over to rapists (like Lot did), being commanded to kill people, including women, children, animals, unborn (Saul, Sammael).

            Oh and btw, that whole “secularist, atheist nations perpetrating the most horrifying attrocities” lulz…
            A dictatorial regime (be it stalinist, hitlerist, maoist, etc.) is based on the the main principle that the “Great Leader” has the power to see everything you do, that you have to listen to his rules no matter what, that you should fear him while you love him and that and he’s pretty much a demi god (like Jesus was to you nutters).
            So yeah….. the whole “atheistic nation” again lulz.
            Oh and btw, buddhists are atheists too. They don’t believe in any god whatsoever. It is possible to believe in an afterlife without linking it to a creator, you know. Something you “god fearing people, but with him on your side in a war” probably know nothing about.

            • bbitter

              I had an epically huge post ready, but I don’t think you’d take the time to read it, ‘cuz I’m not sure I would. So, I’ll try to boil it down.

              Of your entire post, only one point was logical, IF I assumed you either believed you are god, or are atheist. I don’t think you believe you are ‘god’, so I’ll not address that. But atheist makes sense for the first part, because if universal morality doesn’t exist, one cannot take the high road.

              I’ve only met two honest atheists of all the people who claimed to be atheist, and I learned heaps from them. First off, atheism is a very emotionless place, and, as emotion cannot be quantified or transferred, it is illogical to try to impose emotional standards on anyone else. In addition, you cannot claim self-valuation due to your humanity, (you decide what is moral or not), and then deny that right to other humans. Your statement that you aren’t being moral clashes with your denunciations of immorality and inconsistency you perceived in religion. Nor can you logically criticize those who choose to follow religion and accept that moral standard. You can only make moral rules for yourself. If there are no universal morals, you can’t logically criticize those who don’t follow them.

              A true atheist has no logical founding for complaints against religion or insults taken/given. None. (That doesn’t mean that they don’t have emotion, just no logical basis for it.) Furthermore, if a supreme being does exist and dictate morality and conduct, then He/She/It is beyond human criticism.

              I see you claim irony in human atrocities… except you logically can’t compare something you admit exists with something that doesn’t. The secular community has NEVER addressed their philosophy’s culpability. It is always brushed under the rug with one chuckle and diversion or another. It DID happen, whereas you can only point to what others believe may happen in the future. Let the secular community answer for their deeds, and I’ll let God answer for His.

              Your mention of ‘Buddhists’ is non sequitur in your logic: they also take their queues from a ‘book’ which may have been re-written uncounted times, based on the purported teachings of a man who accessed unquantifiable knowledge and intangible ability through super-human means – invoking Buddhism completely debunks your entire previous point. In addition, your association is bunk; you may argue that Buddhists do not believe in God, but you cannot honestly argue that atheists are Buddhist.

              If you claim logic, I recommend you spend more time thinking without your emotions and about your limitations. Logic is a beast to get your mind around if you can’t divorce your bias and emotion. If you are going to go down that route, you should learn some mental analytical tools. This is a rough road, and I really do wish you luck/karma/help/whatever floats your boat.

              And again, I honestly and fervently wish you a nice day.

              • lol nice one on making my comments “pending aproval” now. Yeah, as always, religious people are very, very, very endearing when it comes to censorship. Whenever someone questions your faith you go nuts.

                • bbitter

                  Creating two accounts and liking yourself, are we?

                  You’re building strawmen and burning them. Nothing you said addresses any of the issues, and some are exactly the opposite of what I actually stated. You’re obvioulsy not even interested in defending yourself or considering any other possibility.

                  Why post if you refuse to listen to feedback? I guess if you feel the urge to call names…

                  I’ll not waste more time.
                  Have a good day, and God bless you.

                • I have 2 accounts with the same login and I realized it yesterday when I accidentally liked one of my comments. Because the facebook and google one are somehow linked. Then I tried to figure out what was going on by replying to my own comment. As you can see there’s a ” . ” comment there, and despite the fact that I flagged it, it hasn’t been taken down.
                  Anyone with 2 working brain cells can easily click the name and see I’m the same person. If I was out to like my comments I’d like all of them, and I’d probably make an effort to make 2 actual separate accounts with 2 separate logins so you don’t see the same comment under the same name.
                  I shouldn’t be surprised though, since your critical thinking is pretty much nonexistent and the only “arguments” you give me are that I liked one of my own comments and ask me to “defend” against what pretty much shows a severe lack of functional brain cells.

                  As for me building strawmen and burning them no, I’m using logic, again, something very hard to grasp by religious fundies. And yes, you thinking “god’s on your side in a war” brings the fundamentalist out of you without further ado.

                  “Defending”? Defending what? That you fail to understand proper history and you obviously equate totalitarian regimes with secularism? That you use the same old argument that Hitler, Mao and the rest of the “Great beloved leaders” fought in the name of atheism, completely ignoring the fact that they fashioned themselves as demigods/gods in the eyes of the population, thus proving that it was AGAIN, a twin ideology of religion? Is this what I’m “supposed to defend”?
                  (oh and btw, Hitler and his soldiers wore belt buckles saying “Gott Mit Uns” aka “God with us” which is, ironically, what you’re doing, and swore an oath under god, and yes it was the Christian god)

                  There was never any war, mutilation, beheading, beating, crime, etc IN THE NAME of atheism because atheism isn’t an ideology. It is a LACK OF BELIEF IN DEITIES.
                  But there have been plenty of wars IN THE NAME OF RELIGION, Crimes, beheadings, mutilations, torture, which not only spread out throughout history but STILL continue today. And one of the very shiny example of that is the VERY WAR for which you’re so happy you’ve got god on your side.

            • ..

        • T Newcomb

          last time I checked, God is on Israel’s side. Something about “his chosen people”. I dunno, read it in a book somewhere…. oh yeah the Bible!

          • AleKx 778

            I couldn’t care less about the bible. A book that talks about slavery, selling your daughters to the richest bidder, giving your daughters to rapists so that “angels are left alone”, telling you to kill your child to prove your loyalty (that’s so like The Godfather btw), commanding you to kill other people, including women and children and even their animals and unborn (I mean WTF??).
            Seriously, and you’re telling me, THIS is a source for morality? LMFAO. You’re pathetic. An no, I’m not being high moral grounded. Just logical. I use my critical thinking in the 21st century. You lot are obviously stuck somewhere in the Middle Ages. Like the rest of the religious fundies.

  • anyonebutbarry2012

    never knew that, thanks

  • Bullhead1

    Thanks for that Shared

  • NoToTyrants


  • sjmom

    Thanks RS. Would that we in the US refer to Scripture instead of banning it from the public square. God’s Word will always save.

    • Pickupdriver

      My sentiments exactly, sjmom.

      Thank you Scoop for this explanation…very enlightening. God Bless Israel.

    • Sober_Thinking

      Agreed 100%!

  • Bucketheadbaptist

    “Speak to the Rock”

  • Patriot077

    Thanks for researching this RS. I like knowing the story behind it 🙂

  • colliemum

    Praying that the ‘Pillar of Defense’ will defend the people of Israel.

    I am sick of the bias in the reports by the BBC, I am sick of the comments on online papers with their moral equivalence, where poor Hamas is the victim and nasty Israel is the Goliath who should really just disregard those tiny little fireworks from Hamas. After all, a hundred or fifty or two hundred rockets every day is neither here not there.

    I have had it with the corrupt MSM who skew every report about Israel.
    I’ve complained to the BBC yet again, who have a correspondent in Gaza, and a local reporter – but no one reporting from Israel.
    There’s no point any longer in battling the stupidity and bias of the British commenters, life is too short.

    I’ll go for a long walk with the housewolf now, and watch the sun rise … praying for Israel and all those who defend her.

    • Darkbella007

      WTG Mum, don’t let the turkeys get you down! As for me I take my walks with my GSD.

      As for the article there are many references with regard to the biblical defense of Israel from the divine. Zechariah 12:9-10, is one I can think of off the top of my head.

      • colliemum

        Hi Darkbella007 – if that’s you GSD in your av, then he/she is definitely a housewolf!

        We didn’t see the sun rise – it was fog and drizzle right from the start, and it has been like that all day. At least there was no wind, and it didn’t feel that cold: small
        mercies …

        I keep thinking of Genesis 12 :3 – because after all, ‘it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’ with blood on one’s hands.

        • Darkbella007

          Or in Hollywood terms: Is that what/where you want to be doing/at when Jesus makes his return?

          That isn’t her photo but the closest I could find. She gets quite a few double takes and moving across the hike path when we go for walks. A pure white GSD is quite imposing. (She would only tear a leg off if one were to actually make threatening advances. Otherwise she is a shedding furball of playfulness)

          • colliemum

            Shedding – tell me about it!

            I’ve met a couple of pure white GSDs during the years, they are magnificent looking, and all were gentle, but quite aloof in regard to other dogs, which I personally applaud.

            Is she a sofa dog, or isn’t she allowed on the furniture?

            • Darkbella007

              She allows me on the furniture. 🙂

              • colliemum



  • Yazz55

    Weather report for Israel today:

    Mostly sunny and warm for this time of year and a 100% chance of missiles within 100km of Gaza.

  • westbankmama

    Can someone please tell me why Fox News uses Associated Press articles to cover what is happening in Israel? They are so biased! It is very frustrating to me to see the only right wing news network without a balanced reporter on the middle east!

    • Sober_Thinking

      FNC strives to be “moderate” apparently… but you are exactly right. Using contaminated news sources isn’t “fair and balanced” at all.

  • Well, I hope it works. With Obama in office, I don’t think Israel is going to get much help from the White House. It will be up to Congress to keep the weapons and money flowing into Israel, money and weapons well spent. These people are on the front lines of the war against radical Islam. We should be giving them all the support and help that we can give. But with Obama in office, I don’t know how much longer that help will last, especially after Iran gets its nuclear bomb.

  • Sober_Thinking

    Very cool!

  • Rshill7

    This Biblical reference might be more descriptive: It refers to a pillar of cloud by day and a “pillar of fire” by night.

    So, you’ve got your pillar of cloud, your pillar of fire, and now, the “pillar of defense”, which obviously refers to the other two. In other words, God.

    “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.”

    (Exodus 13:21-22)

    • Rshill7


      “And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.”

      (2 Kings 1:10 KJV)

      • T4Ut

        Even more:

        For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land.

        And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee.

        Jeremiah 1:18-19 KJV

        • Rshill7

          🙂 This is my favorite:

          “And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.” (Zechariah 14:12)

          • gunclinger

            You think that is referring to a nuclear strike?

            • Rshill7


  • semby

    Israel will prevail because GOD always prevails.

  • las1

    They [the Egyptians] shot arrows and catapult stones at them, but the angel and cloud caught them.

    Excellent… the video of the Iron Dome intercepts illustrate this idea exactly. Awesome!

  • barney59

    Pray for Israel. Now that Obama has obtained another term She is on her own…

  • mikeinidaho

    Great article, thanks!
    God bless (and please help) Israel as they go about the business of defending themselves against the satanic terrorists in the Middle East. and may God forgive those who do not step up to assist Israel in its time of need. (Are you listening Obama?)

  • sara holy land


  • Malkiel_kol_hakavod_la_el

    It’s perfect for the Biblical time we have now truly entered…….