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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Education Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    JNS.org – My wife Suzy and I will never forget our wedding day. It was not just the uplifting ceremony and beautiful party that left an indelible mark. Some life-altering advice that we received from one of our guests informed and shaped our lives from that day forward. My high school teacher, Rabbi Moshe Yagid, pulled us aside just before the chuppah and challenged us to choose one mitzvah that would be the foundation of our marriage and our lives. He explained [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    JNS.org – Influenced by his Jewish upbringing and a summer on a kibbutz, basketball coach David Blatt is embarking on his highest-profile challenge yet: coaching LeBron James, the four-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player who has made waves for returning to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. After guiding Israel’s storied Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball franchise to its 51st Israeli league championship and 6th Euroleague title this past season, Blatt landed the Cavaliers head-coaching job in June. Just weeks later, [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    JNS.org – At the turn of the century, a young Jewish immigrant arrived in New York. So begins the history of many American Jewish families. It is 27-year-old Albert Allaham’s story, too, with a few unusual twists. Albert’s “century” is the 21st—he arrived almost 100 years after the massive waves of European Jewish immigration. Rather than coming from a small town along the Danube river, his shtetl was Damascus. His first American business was not a pushcart on the Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    Did you know that in the entire Bible, only one birthday is mentioned and it is that of Pharaoh? And did you know that according to some scientists, by accepting Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, it is impossible to prove or disprove that the sun is the gravitational center of our solar system? In his new book, REBBE, best-selling author Joseph Telushkin reveals many surprising and sometimes shocking details as he chronicles the life and teachings of the charismatic Rabbi [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Mitzvos New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    JNS.org – Omelet sandwich: 5 shekels. Iced coffee: 5 shekels. Tuna sandwich: 5 shekels. Fresh-squeezed orange juice: 5 shekels. Cheese bureka: 5 shekels. There’s plenty more on the Cofizz menu, but you get the idea. Dani Mizrahi and Amir Amshalm, two Israeli men in their early 30s, asked themselves: Why not launch a take-out food joint in busy neighborhoods around Jerusalem where everything—and that means everything—goes for five shekels, or about $1.50. They’d seen the concept take off in Tel Aviv, where [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    The new FX Network drama Tyrant was shot entirely in Israel, just 10 miles north of Tel Aviv, Bloomberg News reported last Tuesday. Tyrant follows the life of an Arab dictator’s second son Barry, played by Adam Rayner, who reluctantly returns home to the Middle Eastern nation of his birth to join the family business away from his suburban life in America. The elaborate set production for the primetime drama included a crew of 300 and a reported cost of over $3 million [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Skokie, Il-born 25-year-old Erin Heatherton (Erin Heather Bubley) is rocking the modeling world. And in a new interview accompanying a cover spread for Miami’s Ocean Drive magazine, she says Jewish moms are “constantly trying to set her up with their sons.” Imagine that – who would have thought? “The moms, they’re doing what they do. It doesn’t matter what country they live in, what city – grandmothers, too,” she admitted. “But I’m probably going to do that too one day.” Heatherton was [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Israel First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    Some 15 Turkish university professors and lecturers will take part in a first of its kind seminar at Holocaust museum Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies starting next week. The trip is especially significant as Holocaust denial is rampant in the Arab world. A Palestinian professor was recently forced to resign after he led a trip to the Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz. Participants in the week-long program at Yad Vashem will experience in-depth tours of the museum’s archives and [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.