Monday, January 23, 2017

Not a Feminist, A Humanist

I'm not sure why I started this but there's one more thing I'd like to say...yesterday, I posted an article, explaining Why I am not a feminist.

And wow. thousands of hits later...I have one more thing to say...I actually thought I was a feminist a long time ago, until I sat in that class and listened to women who called themselves feminists and realized I was not like them. So, if they are feminists, I guess I'm not. And I'm okay with that because after meeting them and many others throughout my life I realized that perhaps I am better called a "humanist" -

I don't believe women are superior to men; nor do I believe men are superior to women.

I don't believe that women can do everything that men can do physically and I know that men can't do everything women can do physically.

I believe men are physically stronger (most...certainly not all) and it would be stupid for a woman to think she is stronger and take on a man in a physical battle, unless she has been trained to take advantage of her smaller size.

I don't believe either gender is innately more intelligent, inherently kinder. I believe firmly, despite any accusations to the contrary, that men and women are created equal...different, and thank God for that...but equal.

Yes, oh yes, a woman deserves to be paid the same rate as a man for the same work; and with the exception of maternity leave, should have the same rights and conditions.

I believe a woman should have the right to control her body...and I believe she should not have an abortion except under some very clear conditions. Long ago, a Jewish newspaper asked me to write half of a spread on abortion. I was to write the anti-abortion part and I told them I was willing to write an article on abortion but not according to their script. They accepted and I sat down to battle through my thoughts. I do not recognize the right of 9 men (or however many women might be on the Supreme Court now) to decide what I can do with my body and so I am pro-abortion - as is Judaism. No, not pro-abortion, let me correct that. I believe that there are conditions under which my God, my religion, and my beliefs would not only allow a woman to have an abortion, but mandate that she should.

If the Supreme Court outlawed abortion, they would take that ability, that choice away. That's what I wrote - the US government doesn't have the right to decide what a woman does with her body.

But so many times over the years, feminists have come to tell me what I think - it happened today, several times. I am against equal rights for women, said one rather idiotic woman. I can't possibly empathize with a woman who has been raped...said another.

And on and on it went, reaffirming my firm belief that no, I am not like these women who accuse ME of extremism and then spout hatred and their own form of militant extremism against those who don't agree with them.

If anything is more clear to me today than yesterday, it is that too many in the US seem determined to hold on to the anger, the fear, the negativity and it is your loss, your demise.

The easiest response that many took to attempt to discredit my thoughts was to say that I was an outsider, a Jew who only speaks with Jews, who can't possibly understand life in America. Never mind that I was born there, lived there more than half my life. I didn't vote for Clinton, so I must not be a true American.

Jokes on you - I didn't vote for Trump either, but never mind. 

No, I'm not a feminist and had I been in the States yesterday, I would not have marched with the women and yes, they should really look into that pro-Sharia, pro-Hamas woman whose egging them on and track the money...who funded those rallies?

But that is beside the point. What is my point? Very simple. America, you have a new president. Like him, hate him - it doesn't make a difference. In four years, you can elect another. But if you continue to hate and work to undermine him, I have little doubt you will end up like the former Soviet Union, a foot note in history and little more.

As nations go, two or three hundred years is not really a long time. There is nothing written in stone that says the United States will stay united, democratic, free. I always thought the Soviet Union would never be strong enough to destroy the amazing land of my birth. I wonder now whether the same can be said of the Americans themselves. I see such anger, such bitterness, such fear, such hatred. 

Black lives matter...but so do white lives, red lives, blue lives, children's lives, women's lives.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Why I'm Not a Feminist

When I was 20 years old, I took a course at Columbia University for the easy A I expected (and got). It was called "Women and Religion" and was presented by a Jewish woman who declared on the very first day that she was a "witch." It was attended by many different young women, though I only remember one.

Her mother was Catholic; her father was Jewish. By Catholic rule, she was a Jew; by Jewish rule, she was not Jewish (I won't say we rule that she is a Catholic - we simply say that according to Jewish law, which is matriarchal, she was not a Jew).

Her response to this was that she hated both religions; all religions. The class had little to do with "Women AND religion" and everything to do with "Women AGAINST religion." I thought about dropping the course but I really needed that filler course and so I decided to continue and take it as a philosophical experiment. I never argued back in anger because I really felt more pity than anything else.

I tried to paint images of my religion as loving and open and they condemned it for animal sacrifices that haven't taken place in over 2,000 years.

I tried to show how Judaism was very advanced for its time, that in a world that mostly enslaved and abused women, Judaism was teaching women to read, certainly giving them equality in ways that were foreign to most other religions.

I tried to show them that you can have separate but equal and equal but different, but they bought nothing and ridiculed everything.

At the end of the class, the witch...I mean the instructor...announced that all grades were final, papers done, everything marked and now, as a last exercise of the last class she wanted to go around the room and have everyone freely and without consequence, speak about what they had learned.

The non-Catholic/non-Jewish girl spoke of how repressive and reprehensible religion was; others spoke of male domination, the fallacy of believing in one God or even many gods. I wanted to pass but they wouldn't let me and so finally, I agreed to speak.

I looked around the room and then explained, "I learned that I am not a feminist." That enraged a few of them - but the teacher quieted them and asked me to continue. And more or less, this is what I said to them...

I am a Jew. I was born a Jew and I will die a Jew. I was also born a woman. Never once in my life have I felt those two collide or contradict and I pity anyone who feels that they do.

I am not less; I am not inferior. I don't view myself that way and I won't let anyone think of me that way.

But when the Nazis came to murder me, my Christian sisters of the world didn't rise up to save me - they stood with their Christian brothers and fathers and sons. When the Crusaders came, same deal. When the Cossacks came and set fire to the synagogue in which my grandmother hid, no woman rushed forward to put out the flames.

A feminist will tell me that I'm being persecuted but the only way I've ever been persecuted is as a Jew and my "sisters" never once stood up for me because in their eyes I was as much as Jew as my father and brothers.

I am a Jew.

At that point, I got up, thanked the teacher and walked out of the room and to her credit, she gave me the "A" I had earned.

Yesterday, women marched in Washington. The marches were sponsored and organized, in part, by a Muslim woman who supports Sharia and is anti-Israel.

I am the CEO of my company. I have never been discriminated against as a woman. I have applied for dozens of projects and never once been made to feel as if the decision to take my company or not rested on my gender. Dozens of years ago, an Orthodox rabbi asked me to address a very large shul and give a lesson to the entire audience - from the center of the men's area.

I felt some 30 years ago, that those women needed to feel miserable to feel fulfilled. I didn't and so I walked out of that class and went out on a date with a man who would later become my husband. A man with whom I have raised five children. A good man. An honest one. A man who doesn't do the dishes nearly enough, but takes apart the car or the dishwasher or the air conditioner, my computer, or refrigerator whenever it breaks. A man who has never treated me as an object or said anything sexually inappropriate to me (or any other woman).

I have never understood violence. I didn't spank my children (okay, I think I spanked my first two a very few times and then realized it didn't accomplish anything) and no, I do not equate spanking children with violence but I still don't believe in it.

I have never attacked anyone, never set fire to anything (inappropriate). I have never thrown anything at anyone (other than a ball in a game and even then I missed).

I do not understand violence. I do not understand the marches yesterday. (And yes, I am aware that hundreds of thousands of people marched without violence...I don't understand that but respect everyone's right to rally...I just wish I understood what they hoped to accomplish and more, I wish that the rally-rouser wasn't who it was).

I would not want anyone to look over my life and judge me for things I did or said 30 years ago...or 20...or 10 as a means of deciding whether I am capable of doing my job today. I do not understand attacking Donald Trump for what he SAID while giving Bill Clinton a pass for what he DID.

And worst of all, I do not understand what is gained by attempting to delegitimize Donald Trump. Attack what he does...but denying that he is your president. Sorry. No.

I am a Jew. I am not a feminist. I believe in the equality of women and will fight for my right (and theirs) to be paid equally and treated equally by law. But I don't automatically assume men are evil; religion is wrong; or that one sexual predator is okay but a man who was incredibly disrespectful to women (in speech) is the greatest evil known to man. Apparently, this makes me less of a woman, less of a human least in the eyes of feminists and so, I am not a feminist.

I am a Jew and I lost hundreds of relatives - literally - to Hitler. The Holocaust scarred my husband from birth and continues to scar my children, my people, my country. Trump is not Hitler and any analogy reflects more on your ignorance than on him.

I don't live in the United States - that's true. But many of you don't live in Israel and that hasn't stopped you from judging Israel, from believing Israel needs to act a certain way. You were silent when Obama attempted to influence our elections and furious when we told him (and you) to shove it.

Now you are outraged at why we fail to understand and condemn a rumor that Russia might have tried to do the same thing that we have PROVEN Obama did to Israel...and you wonder why we have lost patience.

At first I was shocked by the anger and the vehemence and the self-induced terror. Then I was hopeful that reality would set in, if not before, then at least following the inauguration.

Now, I begin to see that apparently there is something in you that needs this anger, this all-consuming fear. And so I yield. I will not attempt to convince you or anyone that Trump is nothing more (or less) than a man. I surrender the US to your fears.

But I remain what I am...and what I was, even then, when I was 20 years old. I am a Jew; I am a woman.

And I have grown in the last 30+ years to be so much more. I am an Israeli. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a grandmother. And I do not fear Donald Trump because the enemies I face are so much more real, so much more violent and deadly.

My enemies blow up buses and restaurants; they stab pregnant women and children; they ram baby carriages. They murder fathers and mothers in front of their children and then dance in the streets to celebrate.

I surrender to your fear. I do not accept it. I do not enjoy it. But I surrender to the fact that you will not let it go.

ON the Border

Not a picture David sent me
I've often written that my sons guard the borders of Israel - all our sons. At this moment, and for the last week or so, Davidi has been very much ON the border. I won't say which one; I won't write where he is. We live in a very beautiful country and so, as always, I asked him to send me pictures. Anyone who knows Israel will recognize, more or less, where he is and so I won't post them to the blog until he moves from there.

I love the pictures and so I tell him so. I sent him a picture of a street in Jerusalem and he asked me where it was and then why I sent it - I told him it was to encourage him to keep sending me pictures, and so he did.

Not a picture David sent me
He sent me one yesterday. I wrote him back that it's very nice. He wrote back that it was a picture of another country and asked if I had noticed the border fence. I had.

I told him to tell his commanding officer that I don't allow him to play so close to the fence. He wrote me back that he was on base.

I wrote him to tell him to tell his commanding officer to move the base!

It's all very cute and funny unless you think about it. We have several borders - a relatively quiet one with Egypt, a rather messy one with Gaza. A relatively quiet one with Jordan, a scary one with Syria, and a fragile one with Lebanon.

War is often only one mistake away, one missile, one stray bullet or mortar.

At random moments of the day or night, the thought of where David returns to me. Each week in our synagogue (and tens of thousands of synagogues around the world, a prayer is said for the soldiers of Israel. For a mother with a soldier on the border, you feel this prayer in your heart. You close your eyes and listen to each word. He is there. Listen to the worlds in the prayer. My son. My baby.
He Who blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -- may He bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Forces, who stand guard over our land and the cities of our God, from the border of the Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the Great Sea to the approach of the Aravah, on the land, in the air, and on the sea.
That's where my son is' that's where our sons are - on the border of the Lebanon (North) to the desert of Egypt (South), and from the Great Sea (West) to the approach to the Aravah (East), on the land, in the air, and on the sea.

Not a picture David sent me
May the Almighty cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, Blessed is He, preserve and rescue our fighters from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor.
All this we ask; all this we beg.
May He lead our enemies under our soldiers’ sway and may He grant them salvation and crown them with victory. And may there be fulfilled for them the verse: For it is the Lord your God, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you.

There is something grounding about having your son on the border. I look at the people who marched against Trump and I wonder how they would hold up to real adversity - and I don't mean protesting what a man has done after taking office a day earlier. I push away the anger at the people who are so busy fearing Donald Trump for such absurd reasons. 

I ended the Sabbath thinking about the new president in Washington. I have to confess, I just don't understand. I hated the thought of Obama coming to office and his eight years in Israel fulfilled all that I feared and more. I called him an idiot; I never called him a monster. I didn't take to the streets to burn cars, smash stores and throw stones and bricks at the police.

I watch as friends in the US post about how scared they are and inside myself I feel the anger. Until you have had a son at war, until your son stands before you and tens of thousands of rockets, I have no patience for what you write. Nothing that is happening in America now is a matter of life and death. Really.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Top 10 Reasons Not to Go to Paris

Paris is supposed to be an amazing city. I was there once. For 24 hours. It wasn't great. The people were really nasty - from the snotty municipal worker who refused to give me directions because my French wasn't accented properly, to the inconsiderate cleaner at the airport who carefully smashed her broom into garbage cans near benches where people were sleeping, but quietly circled the cans where the benches were empty (I kid you not...we watched this for 15 minutes till we realized and confirmed the pattern). Maybe they just don't like tourists. Maybe they don't like Americans. Or maybe they just don't like Jews. Who knows?

What I do know is that this coming week is a great time for Israelis NOT to go to Paris. Even more specifically, the Paris "Peace" Summit where 70 nations will gather in order to declare that they have found the secret to Middle East peace without having to even bother checking with Israelis or Palestinians. Of course, their arrogance makes sense - after all, they won't have to live with the agreement they dream up and it won't be their people being buried...maybe...yet.

So, as we begin the week, here are the top 10 reasons why Israel should not attend the Paris “Peace” Summit:

10. The results are a foregone conclusion. Israel will be condemned; Palestinians will be rewarded. Israel will be admonished; the Palestinians will be praised. Same old, same old. Why bother to give them the satisfaction of being in the room when they blabber?

9. All that is wrong, the entire conflict, will be blamed on the settlements – never mind the fact that Arabs were waging terror attacks in the 1920s and 1930s. Forget that they attacked Israel in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. It’s all because of settlements that didn’t even exist when the conflict began. When you start with the wrong assumptions, there's almost zero chance of getting to the right conclusion.

8. United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 proved that Israel cannot rely on its “trusted” friend, the United States – at least not for another six days. Why give Obama his final revenge?

7. France is not safe for Jews and Israelis – the less we all go there, the better. And, as it happens, Paris especially seems to have too many random attacks against Jews. As they set up a massive terror target, why would we trust our security to French security forces. No, not. No way. If something's going to happen there, we really don't want to be there.

6. I heard John Kerry might be there and statistics show that whenever John Kerry opens his mouth, the blood pressure of most Israelis goes up.

5. Because the solution to the long-lasting Arab-Israeli conflict has never rested in the hands of France or the US, Russia, China, Senegal, Germany, England, or New Zealand.

4. Because sometimes the best answer is the one delivered from far off – and the answer really is simple. It is to live here in our land and do what we have been doing forever – living. That's what Israelis will be doing this week - going about our normal lives, celebrating simply the way we live.

3. Because the weather is nicer here in Israel, the views so much more ours. Just think - you could be looking at John Kerry's face, or the golden walls of Jerusalem. Well, duh!

2. Israel shouldn’t go to Paris because it’s time for the Palestinians to make a move towards peace, time for THEM to make concessions, offers, good will gestures. We’ve done all of that and nothing was gained. Their turn.

and, the number 1 reason why we shouldn’t go to Paris is…

Because every step we take in this land, every day we spend here, every breath we take in Israel, is a blessing, a present, a statement, a promise.

Israel is eternal; the rest of those guys who will meet in France? Not so much.

So, have your party, condemn us, threaten us, sanction us, hate us. You’ve been doing that for more than 2,000 years, do you really think this meeting in Paris will make any difference?

Monday, January 9, 2017

What would happen if...

Yesterday, four soldiers were murdered by an Arab who decided that ramming his truck would in some way serve his god. A dozen more were wounded, most lightly. This morning, I got a note from a father asking what would happen if...

He doesn't live in Israel, though his son has come here alone to serve. If the son is here, there's a really good chance it is because his parents instilled in him a love of this land, and a belief that it is his job to serve it.

He must have seen the video, or at least the pictures and his first thought, as mine has been too many times, would I know? Imagine four sets of parents yesterday, going about their day. Really not much to worry about - their children were in a training course to be officers...they weren't even combat soldiers. More, they were on a "culture" day - a day where they are taken to places of historic and cultural significance. See, learn, understand why you are defending this land.

So they came to Jerusalem...and they died. More, they were murdered. And at the moment their children died, they were going about their normal day.

To a parent, it seems unthinkable. How could I be taking a shower, eating lunch, playing a game on my phone in that second when life changes forever?

How will I know if he is hurt or killed, the father asked me. I couldn't even bring myself to address the second so I started with the first.

It will depend how bad it is. They won't want to waste time so they will call. If your son is well enough to speak on the phone, they'll put him on. Hearing his voice, will keep you calm. And then someone will explain what has happened. And I believe the Israeli consulate or embassy will help make arrangements and likely pay for you to fly here to be beside him.

And worse? Then the army will call the Consulate or Embassy and they will send someone, perhaps even find your local rabbi and ask him to come along. They will deliver the bad news and they will leave and you'll never see them again. In your mind, these are bad people who delivered news that destroyed you. And so Israel will send a second team to take care of logistics. At least that is how it is in Israel.

Abroad - they will help you get here, help you make arrangements. If...

I told him Israel would take care of everything. If..

For four families, if happened yesterday and they make my words a mockery. When your world crumbles, does it really matter if others are there to "take care of everything?"

I've been thinking about "if" since my children were little. Sometimes, it is a passing thought that comes and goes in a moment. Once at 6:30 a.m., a policeman knocked on my door and when I opened it, my heart felt like it had stopped beating. I looked at him and my mind whirled - where are each of my children? Why is he here?

He asked if we were a certain family. It took me a moment to realize he was using th ename of the people who lived in the house before us. Apparently, in addition to making our lives miserable during the sale of the house, they also never bothered to change their legal address and so when their car alarm went off (right outside the apartment where they now live a few blocks away), the police looked up the car and came to my house.

The policeman apologized and asked if I knew where they now live - "where the car is," I told him.  Could he possibly know what I'd been thinking?

I remember many years ago, there was a brutal terror attack and 7 young girls were murdered while on a school trip. I cried for hours then and as my husband tried to comfort me, I remember asking him, " do parents say good bye to their children in the morning as they leave home...and then bury them that night?" How?

I pray with everything inside me never to know the answer to that. Just explaining to the father this morning filled my eyes with tears. May we never hear that knock; may we never know the pain. May soldiers never come to my door and destroy my world.

Please God watch over our sons and daughters. They are so precious. So so precious.

May God watch over the souls of Shir and Erez and Yael and Shira and may You send a speedy recovery to the wounded.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Chain of Command

I can't think of what to add to this. I knew the ending...there could be no other...and still, it felt too real to ignore. It's silly...until you realize it's not at all funny. It's too tragically true.

No, I don't think it's actually gotten to the top level shown here...but how far up does it go? And will the end change? Ever?

Today, this is what happened...soldiers were left to die. A few people have written that the soldiers were cowards. I promise you, they were not. In a few days, David goes back to the army after a few weeks break. If I could, I think I would try to pull him out. He's dedicating to serving this land...but how dedicated is this land in honoring and protecting him. That is the question that will go all the way up this chain of command.

Thoughts of Another Terror Attack

Today, there was a terror attack, similar in so many ways to the one I lived through. No, I wasn't there, and like today, Elie wasn't there. He wasn't...but he could have been...then and now.

Nine years ago, I was sitting in a restaurant in Eilat celebrating my anniversary with my husband when my phone beeped. The short version of the story was that my son's unit had gone to Jerusalem to take part in the "slichot" (special prayers before the Jewish New Year) and on the way, a terrorist who was in a bad mood because his family decided he couldn't date his cousin (I kid you not), decided to take out his anger by ramming his family's reinforced BMW into a group of artillery soldiers - Elie's unit.

Elie was not there, but he could have been. Elie was not hit, but 23 other soldiers were. Like today, the driver was bent on murder and attempted to put the car in reverse to run over (again) those that he'd plowed through.

Unlike today, many soldier's in Elie's unit quickly opened fire and the terrorist was killed within seconds. No soldier was hit again - all lived.

In that incident, when asked what happened, the commanding officer stood up and lied through his teeth. "I shot the terrorist," he admitted.

Who fired? He was asked.

Me, he answered.

Who else? He was asked.

Me, he answered.

And so, by the conclusion of that incident, it was reported that the commander had fired and killed the terrorists - from about 17 different angles, simultaneously.

The body of the terrorist, riddled with dozens of bullets, was returned to his family. They even complained about the condition of the body. No one died in that attack...because no one ran.

The Chief of Staff and all the way down, stood up for the soldiers in Elie's unit and the Palestinians backed down. There was no international tribunal - after all, the only one that died was the terrorist who had tried to kill the soldiers.

Late in the middle of the night, as the soldiers in Elie's unit were returning to base, hours and hours after the attack, I spoke to Elie, only then learning it was the soldier's from his unit. I listened, thanked him for calling, closed the phone and barely breathing, I picked up my computer and let myself out of the hotel room so as not to awaken my sleeping husband of 25 years.

I went down to the lobby and started to write. It's what I do when I get upset. And the first thing I wrote was "It could have been Elie." And then I started to cry. I cried as I typed, wiping away the tears that wouldn't stop.

Finally, the tears dried and I continued. People passed me sitting in the hotel lobby and asked if there was internet; the guard came over and asked if I was okay. On and on, I answered questions as if nothing had happened but inside I was screaming.

Click here to read: It could have been Elie.

Nine years ago, it could have been Elie...and again today when he rode his bicycle down to our accountant, about 10 minutes from where the attack took place. An attack in which an Arab rammed his vehicle into a crowd of soldiers, as one did nine years ago.

An attack in which one soldier is seen running towards the attack, only to stop and turn back. And then dozens of others are seen running away while in the background you can see that the truck that rammed into the soldiers is reversing to try to hit the downed soldiers again. The terrorist tied that nine years ago and failed. Today, he succeeded. Nine years ago, the soldier stood and took a stand, defending their fallen comrades. Today, they ran.

As the horror of what happened today unfolds, I'm left with one thought.

Nine years ago, I believe Elie would have been one of the commanders who opened fire had he been there instead of the operation he was on in a nearby Arab village rather than with his unit in Jerusalem.

Today, I believe Elie would have been one of the ones who would have fired. Because he had commanding officers who stood in front of his men, not behind them, because he was taught that you fight to live, not run. He was taught that if you run, others could die. Today, others died.

And the reason they ran is clear to everyone. If it wasn't clear, five ex-IDF chiefs wouldn't have felt the need to try to come and protect their own. Frankly, their action disgusts me and as a mother, I would ask them why, instead of fighting for Gadi Eisenkot, they didn't put the same effort into fighting for our children. They were attacked today - and they suffered.

And, if Gadi Eisenkot were to be believed, they are not our children. They are adults. For that alone, he should resign. So, shame on Eisenkot and shame on you five.

The Price of Elor

Sometimes we hear things and we don't know if they are true...but we fear they might be.

There was a terror attack this morning. News said a truck rammed into 12 people....then it said 3 were killed and 15 I am hearing 4 dead. As suspected, it appears that the victims are mostly soldiers.
You can always count on BBC to slant
the news. After all, five dead children...
really - soldiers, but children...and BBC
writes about the truck driver.

Apparently the driver was shot and killed.

Apparently not by the soldiers but by a civilian that was there.

Apparently the soldiers turned and asked their commanding officer if they should fire.

I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Defense, the Chief of Staff (OMG, resign NOW or be fired!). I would like to congratulate the judges, the media - Haaretz who led the cry in Hebrew and Times of Israel who led the battle to lynch the soldier in English.

Congratulations to all of you. Apparently, we have already begun to pay the price for Elor Azarya's conviction.

Four dead...five in critical condition.

Each...each...each...the price for Elor...too damn high, too damn soon.

Oh and there - to the side - that's how BBC reported it...

The pain is unbearable. Our hearts are breaking. We knew we would pay, but we didn't expect it this darn soon.


Elie called a few minutes ago. "You can open the news now," he told me.

My heart sank, my thoughts just froze. "What happened?" I asked, knowing, already knowing.

"Ramming attack in East Talpiot." Not far from where Elie was going to drop off materials for the accountant.

Not far.

There are 10 people who have been wounded; two are in critical condition.

UPDATE: I'm hearing 4 people have been killed. May God avenge their blood....

It is assumed it was a terror attack...the terrorist has been shot.

I opened the news, the sickness sinking down into my stomach. And I looked at the picture - so many soldiers gathered around the scene.

They haven't identified the wounded yet.

Elie was so scary. And Charlie lives near there. And Sara. And Benny isn't far from there on a regular basis. And Sapir. I was there two weeks ago...Elie was there now.

How long can this go on? When the sun is shining and a new week has begun. When my thoughts are leading to next week, when David goes back to the army to begin his last year. When I just want to enjoy Shmulik's new baby, and Elie's darling daughter, and Amira's two amazing and smart sons. When I'm organizing a conference and another trip and I have to write that proposal that I've been delaying.

Why now? Why? Oh God, I think it was soldiers...inside I'm crying and screaming and I'm tired. And angry. Rain is coming but it's sunny today, a beautiful, crisp winter day in Israel and a truck driver decided that he could serve his god by ramming a bunch of kids in green uniform.

Ramming attack. Jerusalem - the holiest city in the world, desecrated again by those who believe in death and not life.

May God send a speedy recovery to the injured and may God send the terrorist to ever-lasting hell.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Fundamental Truth About Israel's Soldiers

On the worst days, comes the need to remember the greatest blessings. That is my thought as this difficult day fades away and we look to tomorrow.

I'm angry, I'm sad. I can't believe the idiocy of punishing a soldier for shooting a terrorist and I'm terrified of the time I know is coming - when a soldier will hesitate and, God forbid, pay the ultimate price. The "victim" in this incident was no victim. He was a confirmed terrorist who had just stabbed a soldier.

And as Israel stood braced and waiting for the verdict, the media and the police were made to look like fools. As the morning dragged on and elements of the verdict were announced, the nation of Israel, once again, stood in unity. As we do for all times we are hit, though usually the strikes come from our enemies, not from our own judges.

Reporters stood outside the building where the verdict predicting that violence would rage...not even close. Some of the commentators even said, "they're just singing and dancing."

The police tore down a sign that they said promoted incitement. The sign said, "We love you, Elor". What incitement? What violence? More importantly, why? Why would you want to stop our sons from defending themselves? Why do you value a terrorist's life over the danger of a soldier's death?

Yesterday, the Chief of Staff said this young man was not a boy, but a soldier and he was not "everyone's son." By and large, Israel rejected that notion, which speaks more about how little Gadi Eisenkot knows about Israel, than about the feelings of our nation.

What Eisenkot and the reporters missed is that one of the reasons that the army is so strong is because of the motivation of our soldiers and the loyalty and dedication of the commanders. A soldier must have absolute faith in his commanding officer - and today, that faith was shaken. Our soldiers don't have the luxuty of fighting in some war thousands of miles from where they live. In every sense of the word, they are defending their families, their homes.

On the day Elie was called to leave his wife and mobilize with his unit to fight in Operation Pillar of Defense, as he was quickly packing his things, our city was attacked. Sirens wailed as we rushed to the bomb shelter and a few days later, it happened again and we heard the explosion of the Iron Dome knocking a missile out of the sky.

It was my son,Elie, that day and on many other days who stood on Israel's border. Then it was Shmulik. And now it is my son, David, every day and for the next year. And even after David returns to civilian life, to be called up occasionally, like his brothers, even then, it will be my sons (and daughers) on the borders of Israel. All of them. Every one of them, mine. That is the foundation upon which this country is built. The collective soul of our people, our land.

Anyone who does not feel this intense connection with our soldiers is, to my mind, missing the essence of what it is to be an Israeli. Elor Azarya is a soldier of Israel. Ten months ago, we sent him into battle. His friend was stabbed in that battle. And he raised his gun and shot a terrorist in that battle. It wasn't murder. It wasn't even manslaughter. Slaughter is what the Arabs did when they went into a synagogue in Har Nof and cut men down as they prayed. Slaughter is what the Arabs did when they opened fire on children in Maalot. Slaugther is what Arabs did in Itamar when they butchered five members of the Fogel family, in Jerusalem when they blew up the Sbarro pizzeria

I won't rehash why I think the accusations against Elor Azarya were unfounded, the trial speedy and unfair. I won't repeat the slanted publicity and the vicious ways he and his family were treated. I also won't readily forget how quickly some judged him and how those same people condemn others for being judgmental.

Despite the accusation that Azarya is a murderer, that charge never made it through even the first round of accusations. Quickly, the lawyers were informed that the courts would not accept such an indictment and so it was never made. Azarya did not murder the Palestinian terrorist. At best, the judges warned, an accusation of manslaughter would be entertained by the courts. Even that was wrong.

There will be an appeal; hopefully one that will balance the evidence with the action. And hopefully those who are responsible for setting the stage for Azarya's actions will be held accountable.

There will perhaps, come a time when the so-called journalists are held accountable. After all, I firmly believe that the media in the United States and around the world had a strong role in handing Donald Trump the presidency. I think America was fed up with listening to the media tell them what they think and I can only hope the same feeling is coming to Israel.

Today certainly, Israelis were, for the most part, wondering why the police sent 300 security forces and a helicopter to guard against 200 non-violent protesters; why a sign that said "We love you, Elor" was considered incitement and why that idiot blonde reporter kept shivering and speaking about how at any moment violence was going to break out.

Maybe it's a day for blondes (no offense, really I know some very smart blondes...some of my best friends are blonde) but by far, the stupidest post I saw today was the one by a "noted" blogger/journalist, well know for her radical left-wing posts.

"He is not my son," she posted. Sadly, that statement says more about her than it does about Azarya. It says that while she may call herself an Israeli, she really has no clue what it means to be Israeli. Sure, she has a son who is like...7 or 8 years old...and the army is a distant and far off thing, if she even remains in Israel...and IF he even enters the army...

If all those things happen, though I doubt that they will, she will learn that even on the worst days in Israel, our greatest strength is that our soldiers ARE our sons. IF her son ever becomes a soldier, he will become part of one of the most loved armies in the world. No, not by the world, but by the people who he will promise to defend...if.

If she will choose to deny her son the love of a nation, that makes her a fool. If she would deny that our sons are hers, that just makes her pathetic.

On the worst of day, our greatest blessing is our children and our greatest truth and that which separates us from our enemies, is the collective soul of the Jewish people.

They are all our sons and daughters - when they are little and they fall in the playground and a dozen mothers rush to pick up the child, when they stand at their first army ceremony and promise to serve in honor, and even when they are called to raise a gun against our enemies. They ARE our sons. Azarya is ours.

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