Sunday, October 22nd | 2 Heshvan 5778

Close

Be in the know!

Get our exclusive daily news briefing.

Subscribe
August 23, 2012 2:42 pm

A Letter to Aly Raisman From an IDF Soldier

avatar by Dan Yagudin

Email a copy of "A Letter to Aly Raisman From an IDF Soldier" to a friend

IDF soldiers of the 162nd Division's Medical Department took the day off to volunteer at 'Reuth' Medical Center for Rehabilitation in celebration of Purim. Photo: wiki commons.

Below is a letter to olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, the American and Jewish gymnast who performed to the tune of Hava Nagila in London, from an officer in the Israel Defense Forces. The letter was posted by the author on Aly’s Facebook page.

Dear Aly,

I want to tell you about how you became the hero of a gym full of Israeli soldiers.

The same Israeli soldiers who have to deal with Iran’s nuclear threat to the Jewish state. The same ones who serve two-to-three years of their lives, because we have to; because there’s no one else that would do it besides us, because our neighborhood sucks, and when the leadership next door in Syria massacres their own people, there’s no way we would let them lay hands on our kids, as foreign dictators have done for thousands of years.

Related coverage

September 19, 2016 6:32 am
0

Israel Is High on Medical Marijuana

JNS.org - Google CEO Eric Schmidt believes Israeli entrepreneurs succeed because they challenge authority, question everything and don’t play by the rules. “The...

You picked a song for your floor routine in the Olympics that every Jewish kid knows, whether their families came from the shtetls of Eastern Europe, the Asian steppes of Azerbaijan, the mountains of Morocco or the Kibbutzim of northern Israel. It’s that song that drew almost everyone at the Israeli army base gym to the TV as soon as the report about you came on the news this morning. After showing your floor exercise to Hava Nagila, the announcer told about your gold medal with unmasked pride, and of your decision to dedicate it to the Israeli athletes who were killed in the Munich Olympics in 1972.

There were some tough people at that gym, Aly. Men and Women, Battalion Commanders from Intelligence, Captains from the navy, Lieutenants from the Armored Corps and more. You probably understand that words like ‘bravery’ and ‘heroism’ carry a lot of weight coming from them, as does a standing ovation (even from the people doing ab exercises.) There was nothing apologetic about what you did. For so long we’ve had to apologize for who we are: for how we dress, for our beliefs, for the way we look. It seems like the International Olympic Committee wanted to keep that tradition. Quiet, Jews. Keep your tragedy on the sidelines. Don’t disturb our party.

They didn’t count on an 18 year-old girl in a leotard.

There wasn’t one person at the gym who didn’t know what it was like to give back to our people, not one who didn’t know what happened to the good people who died in 1972, not one who didn’t feel personally insulted by their complete neglect in the London Olympics, the 40 year anniversary of their deaths, and not one who didn’t connect with your graceful tribute in their honor.

Thank you for standing up against an injustice that was done to our
people. As I was walking back to my machine at the gym, I caught one of the officers give a long salute to your image on television. I think that says it all.

Sincerely,

Dan Yagudin
Officer, Israeli Defense Force

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner
  • L.jacobson

    Such a proud and brave young lady.Not to mention how talented. We shoul all stand up for our take a clue and stand strong foe what we know is right and just. We know Aly will go far and “prosper ” How proud her family must be.

  • Al Sapienza

    I am not Jewish, I am catholic. I am not Israeli. I am an American, a New Yorker in fact. I also applaud you. But I’d like to take this conversation one step further. In the summer of 1972, I watched in shear horror and disbelieve while those young Israeli student -athletes were murdered in cold blood. They were athletes. They were still children. They were there for peace, brotherhood, and non violent competition. They were cut down by people who were no more than cowards, idiots and sociopaths. They had absolutely no right to bring their political, geographic disputes and complaints to innocent citizens, especially at a forum of peace brotherhood and no violent competition. There were 100 outlets for airing ones grievances or complaints in the modern civilized world of 1972. Hell, Gandhi got what he believed was right for his people without firing a shot! There is no excuse for that sick criminal behavior. President Richard Nixon should have responded quickly, on behalf of all the civilized world with a massive decisive and grand air attack on the people and surroundings of those who killed those athletes and sent a clear message to the whole world that this new “Terrorism” would not be tolerated and the cost would so outweigh the act. But he didn’t. He was distracted with Watergate (June 1972). Again the response to that first gigantic act of terrorism should have been so gigantic and so painful to those idiots. But it wasn’t! And by not striking back 100 times harder. Terrorism became an accepted “word” And an accepted political expression. Jimmy Carter also under reacted, allowing the hostages to remain in Iranian hands for over a year. It didn’t have to be this way.

  • Lisa

    I first listened from another room as your program began. The first few notes brought me into the living room as I stood in awe of both your ability and your choice of music! As I stood watching tears were flowing down my face. Just as they are now after reading Dan Yagudin’s note and everyone else’s response. You are indeed a lovely young woman with great character and morals. You have and will continue to inspire many more young people, including my 10 year old son. We talked at great length about what had happened at the ’72 Olympics. It was a tragedy and SHOULD have been appropriately remembered. Your actions throughout the London Olympics made us ALL proud!! Thank you and Mazel Tov on your accomplishments.

  • Judy Auritt Klein

    Proud of Aly too

  • MILINDA RATNASURIYA

    ALY, YOU ARE NOW A ROLE MODEL NOT ONLY FOR THE JEWISH KIDS IN AMERICA BUT IN THE WHOLE OF THE GLOBE !!! YOU MUST BE A TRUE LIVING EXAMPLE FOR THE KIDS WHO LOOKS UP TO YOU AS A ROLE MODEL !!! DON’T BE LIKE YET ANOTHER ATHLETE WHO LOST HER HEAD BECAUSE OF THE FAME,MONEY AND RECOGNITION !!! BUT BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL WHERE ALL THE JEWISH KIDS & PARENTS CAN LOOK UP TO !!!GOD BLESS YOU !!!

  • Carol Belitz

    Aly is the true hero. Thank you for remembering what a great many people did not!

  • Richard Behfarin

    Thank you Aly, for standing up for Jewish people, and for all people who need and deserve a voice.

    It’s interesting to take note that often times when prejudice and politics interfere with a voice that needs and deserves to be heard, that the people in power who suppress this voice (as well as those who stand silently in agreement) often get a LOUDER voice as a reaction. Their goal backfired. Jewish people and all people of conscious, got a louder voice – with MORE recognition and MORE momentum without the minute of silence that was deserved. And in the end, those in the right, became….. more powerful.

  • Barbara Yaros

    I too was so proud of Aly Raisman. May she continue to bring joy to the Jewish world and serve as a light unto the nations with her strength, talent, and passion. Shanah Tovah umetucka!

  • BH in Iowa

    Aly Raisman is OUR Jessie Owens.

  • Sabra C

    I am so glad for everyone! Do not remain on the sidelines in silence! I will always stand up and speak the TRUTH on your behalf!

  • Watched to Olympics with mixed feelings. Was very upset about Israel’s ban to participate,THAT LITTLE GIRL SAYS IT ALL ABOUT ISRAEL’ s pride in her people ..

    • MILINDA RATNASURIYA

      VERY NICELY SAID !!!

  • Roslyn Small

    Way to go girl!!!!!! Todah Rabah. I have always been proud to be a Jew. You have made me even more proud!

  • Annie Jacobson

    I got teary-eyed when I read about Aly. I, too feel so proud of her.What a beautiful person!!!

  • sarah williams

    Aly, you’ve made all of us SO proud! Thank you!

  • Michael Segelstein

    I feel the same way about it. Aly, you gave us all pride, and therefore you are a hero to us.

  • Along with ALY’S victories and courageous comments we should take a moment to remember Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller who were denied their rightful place on the 1936 US Olympic Track Team because they were Jews.

    • Amy K.

      Thank you Richard Sherman for that info.

    • Thank you, Richard, for mentioning Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller in your reply. I was a huge fan of Marty Glickman- for me, he represented more than a Hall of Fame broadcaster. Marty went to his grave convinced that he was denied his right to participate in the ’36 Olympics-lest, according to Avery Brundage, they (the Jews) offend their hosts. I can only hope that Marty can rest in peace and that the anti-Semite Brundage rots in Hell. I can still hear his pronouncement after the Munich Massacre, “the Games must go on.”
      I have never been more proud to be a Jew. Thank you

Algemeiner.com