Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Luck of the Draw?

When Elie trains during reserve duty, there are two large units of artillery that I hear about all the time...one is his unit, the second is a unit that his unit has trained alongside throughout the years. A friend's daughter is in that second unit - one of many units accepts dedicated women to fight.

A short time ago, Elie was here, his phone constantly in his hand. They mobilized an artillery unit...not Elie's but Ya'ara's. They have been friends for many years. Elie has been like an older brother to her, her younger brother and sister, an adopted son to their mother. They adore him. Elie called because her unit was mobilized. She had not heard yet and so the news came from Elie.

Elie's unit has been placed on alert, but not yet mobilized. He's home now...resting and doing laundry. I can't think about the possibility of him going.

Israel has authorized the mobilization of another 50,000 troops. Davidi's course for the ambulance training that he was supposed to be teaching in the south has been canceled. Day 13 of this conflict and there is no end in sight.

After a fierce battle, Hamas requested a two hour humanitarian ceasefire so they could evacuate their wounded. They asked the UN to arrange it and forever being the lapdogs of Hamas, the UN complied.  They asked Israel to respect the need to evacuate the wounded.

This might be a good time to point out that Israel has set up a field hospital just outside Gaza to treat wounded Palestinians; I might also point out that Hamas has not. The only use they have for hospitals is a location from which to fire or in which to store their rockets.

Israel agreed to the ceasefire - within about 30 minutes, it proved to be too much for Hamas and they began firing back. I have yet to hear the United Nations condemn this violation, though I do think I heard them barking.

For now, at least, Elie is home.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Paula, may you, your family and your people stay safe. Being from Belfast, your illustration summed it up perfectly.

NancyB said...

I am so relieved to know Elie is home!! I can only imagine the extent of your relief.

One question for you Paula. I asked this the other day but I'm cognizant that you have much more important things on your mind. If you get a minute I would love to know an Israeli's perspective on this: What in the world do long term care centers do when the sirens go off? They could not possibly have the # of staff to move all the residents to bomb shelters in 15 sec to 1 minute of time. It must be terrifying.

Hamas' modus operandi is violent, not only toward Israel, but toward its own people, and, in contrast to Israel, it doesn’t seem to try to minimize civilian casualties — its own or Israel’s. Hamas is not as corrupt as the Palestinian Authority, but it is far more repressive, and my impression, though I've never visited Gaza is that it’s also unpopular at home. Hamas sometimes seems to have more support on certain college campuses in America or Europe than within Gaza. Is the above, which I believe to be true, at all accurate?

Anonymous said...

Paula- I've been praying for your family for a while now. I'm going to pray even more earnestly. I'm also " a soldier's mother" and a soldier's mother in law and I also have a grandson in the army. I can understand your heart. I also love Israel ( the people, the land) with all my heart. Praying earnestly for you and your family and for the people and land I love. Xxoo grammaN

Bea said...

Dear Paula,

I recall your explaining about Elie not serving in a unit that includes women. What are the logistics when he serves or trains alongside a unit that does include women?

Thank you so much for all of your posts.

Your response to Trish here was especially impressive. It deserved wider circulation.

Thank you again, and please stay safe.

A Soldier's Mother said...

Hi Bea,

Elie didn't refuse to SERVE in a unit with women so much as he refused to command one. Huge difference. Being a commander includes a tremendous amount of physical contact. Not just in training, but in the course of the relationship built between the commander and his soldiers. They hug in greeting, they hug in parting. They slap each other on the back...this is what he did not agree to - from a command point of view. There are women in another unit that often trains and serves with the unit that Elie is in. One of these women is a friend's daughter. Elie and this young women often travel together (her mother or I drive them one way). They are often in contact with each other about developments, especially now. It looks like her unit is or will be mobilized. Still no word on Elie's.

In war, they set a shower for the women and gave them a protected area in which to sleep...the boys gave them privacy as much as possible. In short, they made all of us proud. In battle, they serve next to them and treat them as they are treated themselves - as trained, dedicated soldiers of Israel.

A Soldier's Mother said...

Hi Nancy - sorry for taking so long to answer. Basically, the answer depends on many things. If they are located within 40 kilometers of Gaza, they may well choose to move their most disabled patients to other facilities. Basically, all facilities need to have bomb shelters. And the bomb shelters have to be adequate in size to accommodate all (or there has to be protected areas). In these facilities, you'll have nurses who can move patients quickly; patients who can move themselves.

They might speak to family members and ask them to have someone available...In Ashkelon's hospital, for example - they have moved the entire nursery division into two bomb shelters - one for preemies and one for regular babies. I believe their emergency room has been rebuilt and is now protected against missiles. In Rambam Hospital in Haifa, they have a whole underground, protected hospital. In Jerusalem last week, doctors were operating on a Palestinian girl when the siren sounded. The doctor refused to leave the girl on the operating table and so the operation continued...during the operation...in a place that was not protected. And yes, terrifying is probably the best word to describe the whole situation.

I am not up on the latest situation on American & European campuses. There was a time I was very involved...Hamas was elected as the legislative representatives of the people of Gaza. Yes, they are very repressive but currently they are very popular in Gaza. Why? I think the Palestinians, like much of the Arab world, do not understand the concept of democracy - it goes counter to everything they are raised to believe - that Allah and the Imam, the father and the husband - hold absolute authority. You do not question, you do what they say.

I know that Hamas leaders live in mansions and have bunkers to hide in. I don't see that they are any less corrupt than the Palestinian Authority.

Bea said...

Thank you Paula.

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