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...

  • Blogs Features Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    JNS.org – About two-dozen people file into Dodd 175 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus on a Thursday night, scouting out seats and picking at the kosher pizza in the back of the lecture hall. Miyelani Pinini knows the drill. A former student president of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, she’s attended and even organized her share of free-pizza events. But now she and a fellow South African student leader were the stars of this […]

    Read more →
  • Food Spirituality/Tradition The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    JNS.org – It’s widely known that Israel has penetrated the wine market, with some of its sophisticated Israeli blends surpassing historically excellent wines from areas such as the Napa Valley or Bordeaux. But what about beer? For decades, Israel has offered solely the Maccabi and Nesher brands. Not anymore. “There is a huge push of people making beer at home. The country is approaching over 30 craft breweries in the last year or two, making nearly 200 beers,” says Avi Moskowitz, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Actress Natalie Portman acted like a typical “Jewish mother” on the set of her latest movie, Jane Got a Gun, the Israeli-born star told the New York Post‘s Page Six on Sunday. The 34-year-old, who also co-produced the western, said she made it her job to look out for everyone involved in the project, because the film has had to overcome “so many obstacles,” such as losing its director early on. She explained: “Actors changed. We suffered financial and legal challenges. We endured so many replacements. There were delays. […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    “We’re looking very much forward to coming back to Israel this summer,” said the lead singer of the German rock band Scorpions in a video on Monday. “Make sure you don’t miss it because we rock you like a hurricane!” said a jovial Klaus Meine, quoting the band’s seminal 1984 anthem, “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” The hard rock band lands in Israel for a show at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena on July 14 as part of its 50th anniversary tour. It will be the band’s third time […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel were the two most immediate and authentic literary voices who gave witness to the Holocaust. Wiesel was an extrovert and a very public figure who wrote initially in French. Levi was a modest retiring chemist who wrote in Italian. Whereas Wiesel was rooted in the Eastern European Jewish Hassidic world, Levi was the product of an assimilated, secular Italian society that saw itself as Italian first and Jewish as an accident of birth. As Levi himself said, “At Auschwitz I […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Lifestyle Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    JNS.org – Wine has long been considered a social lubricant, and it’s Nir Lavie’s hope that wine from his Har Bracha Winery in the Samarian hills will serve as a social lubricant between the city-goers of Tel Aviv and the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, two locales split geographically, and often politically, on the left and right of the country. The new flagship store of Har Bracha has recently popped its corks on 190 Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Actor Zachary Levi said casting directors have denied him roles for being “too Jewish,” despite the fact that he is not a Jew, the New York Daily News‘ Confidenti@l reported on Wednesday. “I guess they were looking for more of a corn-fed, white boy look,” he said. “My family is from f****** Indiana! Come on, I’m like dying here!” The Thor star clarified that he is Welsh, and that Levi is actually his middle name, while his real last name is Pugh. He said he […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Spirituality/Tradition Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    The secret of Chabad’s worldwide success is revealed by veteran Chabad shliach (emissary) Rabbi David Eliezrie in his new book, The Secret of Chabad. The Chabad movement was founded by Rabbi Schnur Zalman of Liadi, Belarus, in 1775. Years later it came to the US with the arrival of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn in 1940, after his escape from Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Upon his arrival in New York, a number of his co-religionists advised him that there was no place for traditional […]

    Read more →