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January 25, 2018 11:37 am

The Eagles Are Going to the Super Bowl — and a Slain IDF Lone Soldier Would Be Proud

avatar by Lou Balcher

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Graves of fallen IDF soldiers at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem. Photo: IDF via Wikimedia Commons.

On January 23, 2018, as Vice President Mike Pence was traveling in Jerusalem, roads were clogged, security was enhanced, and a Birthright Israel tour was visiting Har Herzl.

On Mount Herzl, Israel’s “Arlington Cemetery,” many Taglit/Birthright trips visit the grave-site of suburban Philadelphia native Michael Levin.

Michael, a “lone soldier” from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, cut short his summer 2006 US vacation in order to join his comrades during the Second Lebanon War. Michael made the supreme sacrifice in that conflict, becoming the lone US-Israeli casualty. With his death, Michael also became a symbol for American-Jewish young adults who are devoted to Israel. In the ensuing years, many have made aliyah, and followed Michael’s example by serving in the IDF.

Michael’s story also became part of the US-Israel relationship, as he followed the example set by his hero, Entebbe rescuer Yoni Netanyahu, who also grew up in Cheltenham — another suburb of Philadelphia.

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Aside from loving Israel, Michael was also a devoted Philadelphia Eagles football fan, with memorabilia on his grave-site.

During the recent Birthright trip, group leader David Balcher shared Michael’s story. Balcher also noted that Michael would be especially happy today — because the Eagles are about to play in the Super Bowl.

David is returning early from his trip to Israel, partly so he can visit Pennsylvania — and share Michael’s joy about the Super Bowl.

“Fly Eagles Fly!”

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