Tag Archives: Israeli Defense Forces

To Properly Remember is to Always Know

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As I sit here with my limited understanding of what it means to remember those that gave their lives for the State of Israel, I realize that my personal obligation and responsibility is relatively easy when put side by side with those who have sacrificed so much.  In just a few words I will try to convey my feeling as to the basic effort I believe is incumbent on all of us who love Israel and the Jewish people.

I lived in Israel for 3 1/2 years.  Although that was many years ago I fell in love with the place. For me, someone raised in a strong Jewish household and the son of Holocaust survivors, I grasped the importance of the State of Israel at a young age.  That being said, I never had to do what so many others have done and continue to do to ensure its existence and security.  All I have ever been is a beneficiary of other’s sacrifice.

Having been  raised by 2 wonderful parents that suffered through the hardships of Nazi occupation and woke up to the horror of losing their family and friends, the concept of remembrance has always been paramount in my mind.   I write a little, speak a little, and try to show as much honor and respect as I can, but in the end I have personally concluded that there is only one way for me to truly show honor and respect.  That is to always remember.  Not just on Yom HaZikaron but every time I think of the blessing of the State of Israel.  Every time a member of the Israeli Defense Forces “IDF” is lost in battle, every time I meet a former member of the IDF, and every time I read or hear the tragedy of another lost soul to a terrorist attack.  I try to do more than just remember on one day, I try to make it part of my consciousness.

It is not easy to live with certain knowledge when that knowledge is painful or horrific, but when comparing oneself to someone who experienced it personally, to always be aware of what took place is a small price to pay.  For all those who have sacrificed so that we as Jews can have country we call our own, I am fortunate that all I need to do is always know the sacrifice they made for me.  In that way, in some small manner, I try to honor them every day.

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The New Wonder Woman is a Former IDF Soldier

254166-gal-gadot-wonder-womanYou can’t help but wonder how long it will take for those who hate everything Jewish and Israeli to cry foul once again, but it turns out that the most recent superhero revealed to the world this past weekend at San Diego’s Comic-Con  is Israeli model and actress  Gal Gadot.  The gorgeous Gadot, a former member of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) will play Wonder Woman in the movie “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” scheduled for release May 6, 2016.  The BDS Movement is waiting to see what side Wonder Woman is on before they decide whether or not to boycott products from Krypton or Gotham but we promise to keep you updated as news filter in.

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Hollow demands

UN-Secretary-General-Ban-Ki-moonIn comparison to previous crises involving Israel, the United Nations has behaved in a somewhat less one-sided way over the past few weeks.  The same can be said for the American President Barack Obama.  The support of the administration has been there as has the support of Congress and the American people.  However, at the end of the day the government of the State of Israel is committed to a specific result.  That result is the establishment of a peaceful life for all residents of Israel free of Hamas missiles and terror attacks.  Heroic soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces have made the ultimate sacrifice in the early stages of Operation Protective Edge and I am certain that the leaders of Israel’s government have no intention of allowing their lives to be lost for nothing.  In making demands that the fighting stops, the United Nations and President Obama are making demands that have no substance.  If we were to assume that the motivation was purely to put a stop to the deaths of innocent people, the demands contradict the motive.  The only way innocent people in Gaza and Israel will live in peace is by destroying, or at the very least incapacitating Hamas.

Furthermore, by what authority does anyone makes demands from Israel when it comes to protecting their people?  If your best friend demanded you not protect your family so as to not harm others, would you listen?  No.  You would protect your family.  You would also realize that  any true friend, or at least a friend with good judgment would never ask that of you in the first place.  The reaction you must have in such an instance is a simple one.  You continue to do what is best for your family.

This for all intents and purposes is what I suspect will be Israel’s response to what I see as nothing more than hollow demands.


Who am I to advocate Force?

idfI often feel guilty when I come out in favor of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) taking the harshest of approaches.  After all, who am I to say this?  I live in New York.  I do not live in Israel, I do not live in Judea, Samaria, or Southern Israel.  I do not have children being called up to fight and risking their life to do the things I comfortably encourage from a safe air-conditioned home in the United States.

Who am I?  I am a human being, I am a Jew, and I am the son of Holocaust survivors.  I have made every attempt in my life, both in practicality and in theory to learn lessons from the past.  Sometimes successfully, sometimes not.  If there is one lesson I have learned, and I truly believe it may be the most important lesson of our time, one that could mean the difference between the death or survival of modern civilization, it’s that we can not apply rational standards to irrationally thinking people.  Do I believe the answer is to wipe out anyone who lives by those irrational standards?  Of course not.  Do I believe re-education of the greatest kind is needed. I do.  I also believe that sometimes the only way to begin that re-education is by a show of force of the most enormous proportions.

Two of the most civilized nations today, and strong American allies, are Germany and Japan.  Go back 70 years ago to the year 1944 and no one would have thought that to be realistic.  Yet the world was saved, at least temporarily by the drastic change in direction initiated by the allied forces basically pounding the two nations into submission.   Many people who wanted nothing more but to live a decent life died in the process, on both sides, but the fact remains that with the strong force brought on to both of these nations, history was changed for the better.

We face a similar threat today, at least as far as its potential danger, even if the landscape is very different.  Many people such as myself, who believe a powerful approach is needed against our enemies, are getting criticized for our viewpoints.  “Jews don’t act like that, the enemies do”, is one of the things I have heard.  To that I reply, yes, in the past we did not.  But we also say Never Again.

I find the murder of any innocent person to be tragic.  But I also believe in the phrase coined by our ancient Rabbis in Ethics of our Fathers, “im ain ani li mi li”, which translated into English means, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me.”   As a Jew, my sad assumption is that as a collective, there will be no one. There are many righteous people who have and would sacrifice their lives to protect innocent people, Jew and non-Jew alike, but there are no nations or groups who will look after the Jewish people any better than their fellow Jews will.

So although I feel somewhat guilty for sitting in comfort and speaking in favor of force by the IDF, as a Jew who has learned from history I would feel more guilty if I did not.


Mind boggling

bar_refaeli_face_photoIt is tremendously unfortunate that I need to follow up my post about Bar Rafaeli by defending a woman who made global news in defense of the Jewish state.  Since the time I wrote the last post, I’ve been told she is a draft dodger who has been highly criticized in Israel for not going into the army.  I’ve even been told that she is widely criticized for her Liberal views.  Since when does having Liberal views automatically label you as being bad for the Jewish people or State of Israel?  Bar Rafaeli came right out and went after an individual, Roger Waters, who is and enemy of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.  I appreciate the passion felt by former soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces, and a Jew I am forever in their debt for their service.  This I say with total sincerity and conviction.  However, to those criticizing Rafaeli I say this.  Go after your enemies not your friends.  Here is a public figure using her high profile status to try and combat a subtle but significant evil and what she deserves is gratitude and support.  It is not everyone’s responsibility to be part of the solution, but in going after Bar Rafaeli you become part of the problem.