Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

A Parent’s Pride and Fear: My Three IDF Reservists

November 25, 2012 2:53 am 0 comments

On Nov. 17, IDF reserve soldiers in staging areas around the Gaza Strip. They can go home in the coming days if the Israel-Hamas ceasefire holds. Photo: Israel Defense Forces.

Soldiers wait to be called, and their parents die a little bit inside during this wait.

Our three sons are infantrymen, reserve soldiers who expected to be called to active duty to finish the business of putting the Palestinian terrorists out of business. They were ready, literally, to answer the call. They left their cell phones within easy reach on the Sabbath so their unit commanders would have no trouble reaching them.

Sara and I are proud parents who did our national service a while back, but we both know a few things about speaking to and/or fighting with Arabs. We know defeating Hamas and jihad is not something you can accomplish from the air. But going in on the ground means exposing your soldiers — especially your infantry — to risk.

Daniel, 28, who just got engaged this month, also trained as a medic. He has been looking at places for a wedding in May. Yoni, 26, the jazz pianist in the family, is from the “engineer” branch where they have taught his dexterous fingers to prepare and to dismantle devices more destructive than a piano. Lately, he has been attached to some hush-hush infantry unit whose name he will not tell us.

Elad, our 23-year-old, is from the elite Sayeret (patrol) units of the Golani brigade, where the boys love to snack on barbed wire and go on 70-mile hikes with a full pack. Elad’s idea of a good time is doing push-ups and pull-ups — a regimen that he inflicted on his campers last summer in Camp Ramah, where he was the sports counselor.

None of the boys has a military career or thought of one, and none of them is especially bellicose or spends spare time tracking and hunting animals, but they have each been trained to fight to protect their country from external invasion and from the more insidious threat of terror.

Sara and I know what wars are like. Sara’s brother Yossi nearly burned to death when his vehicle was hit by a Syrian anti-tank missile in the 1973 war. He was knocked out, ammunition inside his armored personnel carrier (APC) exploding around him. Fortunately, Yossi regained consciousness and pulled himself out.

It took him months to recover from burns over his whole body, and he still carries some shrapnel in his chest. Well past his 50th birthday, he was a reserve infantry colonel doing almost 60 days a year of active reserve duty.

I was a war correspondent for Israeli Army Radio — Galei Tzahal — in Lebanon during the 1982 war, and this gave me a chance to go all over Lebanon using my Arabic, French, and English to get some interviews off the beaten path.

Israel overturned the PLO terror state in Beirut and southern Lebanon, which was similar in many ways to the terror state run by Hamas in today’s Gaza Strip. One almost never got real news out of Lebanon in 1980-82 that the PLO did not like, and one almost never sees a report from Gaza today that Hamas does not like.

The PLO and the Syrians browbeat the Western press corps in Beirut. People like Tom Friedman and John Kifner of the New York Times and Robert Fisk, then of the London Times, and reporters from the Associated Press and Reuters did not probe too hard into PLO or Syrian actions nor report how some reporters were harassed or even killed.

Kifner was among a group of reporters kidnapped by a Palestinian group, but he did not report it until an Israeli official embarrassed him by going public with the story.

Like Kifner, Friedman also pretended the PLO was a benevolent presence.

Friedman and Fisk willingly believed much of obviously false Palestinian claims about Israeli participation at the Sabra-Shatila massacre, with Fisk also describing Israelis as behaving like Nazis. Somehow, neither man showed much enterprise reporting on Syrian massacres of Syrians in 1980 and 1982. I wonder why. (Today, Friedman likes to claim that he invented the term “Hama Rules” for Syria’s Hama massacre, but that really only took place when Friedman wrote his book about Lebanon when he was safely outside Lebanon.)

These same “intrepid” reporters lovingly passed on every bit of PLO propaganda, including the farcical nonsense that Israeli bombings had caused 600,000 homeless in southern Lebanon, when the entire population of southern Lebanon did not even reach that number. (A fuller description of how the press interacts with terrorists appears in my book on terror.)

After the 1982 war, we discovered how the PLO kept the population of southern Lebanon under its thumb, and I suspect that if Hamas gets sharply curtailed, we may suddenly discover that whole apartment complexes in Gaza City have been built atop concrete bunkers housing Grad missiles and Fajr-5 rockets.

This article originally appeared at PJ Media.com.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    The first English-language trailer for Natalie Portman’s directorial debut — A Tale of Love and Darkness — based on Israeli author Amos Oz’s memoir, was released on Thursday. The movie, originally filmed in Hebrew, tells the story of Oz’s childhood in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate and the early years of Israel’s independence. Portman, who was born in Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew, plays the lead role of Fania, the author’s mother. She struggles to raise her son as she deals with inner demons, a […]

    Read more →
  • Features As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    JNS.org – Sonnenallee, a street in Berlin’s Neukölln district, looks like it comes straight out of an Arab city — so much so that it goes by the nickname “Gaza Strip.” Kebab and bakery shops are advertised in Arabic; men sit in men-only coffee shops; and bridal shop windows showcase glittery, not-so-stylish gowns. But take a random turn, and you’ll find a swath of bars, burger joints, and Indian restaurants where hip Berliners announce that they have arrived to urban coolness. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot engages in fierce action sequences in the new Wonder Woman trailer, which Warner Bros. premiered during the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. The nearly 3-minute trailer, the first to debut for the superhero film, shows scenes of Diana, princess of the Amazons, fighting alongside men in the battle against the world’s toughest enemies. The first shot of the video shows Wonder Woman discovering a man, Steve Trevor (played by actor Chris Pine), washed ashore. The clip then takes viewers to the all-female island where Wonder Woman was born. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    Is diplomacy worthwhile, even if the end result isn’t what we hoped for? That is the question, among many others, posed by the new play Oslo, by J.T. Rogers. Making its New York debut at Lincoln Center, the play examines the secret diplomatic process that led to the historic 1993 peace accords. The character of Shimon Peres makes an appearance onstage — and he, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, tower over the proceedings. But they mainly do so in absentia. Instead, […]

    Read more →
  • Spirituality/Tradition Sports Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    JNS.org – Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax — who was recently ranked by ESPN as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history — decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer said in an interview. Last month, the 20-year-old Kremer became […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    The famed lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, Brian May, encouraged Jewish singer-songwriter Adam Lambert to perform in Hebrew during their upcoming joint concert in Israel, an entertainment industry advocacy organization reported on Tuesday. During a recent interview with Israeli television personality Assi Azar, May was played a 2005 video of Lambert singing the popular song Shir L’Shalom, (Song for Peace). May was so impressed by Lambert’s singing of the Hebrew track that he told the American singer, “We have to do that. Let’s […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    JNS.org – Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval. “I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters. Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies? Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.” “Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the […]

    Read more →