The highest honor was given to an Israeli officer who entered a tunnel armed only with a gun because a soldier had been kidnapped and Lieutenant Eitan Fund believed he had a chance of saving him. What he saw, sadly, was Hamas fighters dragging the dead body of Hadar Goldin back towards the hell that is Gaza. He was not honored for killing, certainly not innocents - he was honored for having the bravery to risk his life and enter the unknown and in so doing, save a family from the psychological torture, the Hamas game they played with Gilad Shalit for five years and the Regev and Goldwasser families for two years.
|Herzl Biton, whose brave actions saved lives|
The army honored another soldier who used his body to protect a soldier from a fragmentation grenade and risked his life to help evacuate wounded soldiers.
Another soldier, in the midst of a battle, continued to shoot at the enemy while wounded soldiers around him were being evacuated. When he ran out of ammunition, he grabbed the gun of one of the wounded soldiers and continued to fire while also helping to treat the wounded. And, if that wasn't enough, he himself was wounded during these actions. He too is our hero today.
Another hero today is a young boy - only 13 years old. He was on his way to high school when a terrorist boarded the bus Herzl Biton was driving. After stabbing the driver, the terrorist made his way to the back of the bus, attacking passengers. Young Liel ran to the back of the bus, searching for a way to escape. As the terrorist approached him, Liel threw his backpack at the terrorist to slow him down - he too is a hero in Israel today.
These are the heroes of Israel - men, women, and children - people who reached out in time of crisis to help others. Good people, many of them seemingly in the wrong place at the wrong time and reaching beyond themselves.
And who are the heroes of our enemies? Well, Hamas says their heroes are the ones who attacked the Charlie Hedbo newspaper headquarters in France and butchered 12 people; the man who murdered four innocent men in a kosher supermarket in Paris. Samir Kuntar is their hero...he murdered two Israeli children. The men who kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens this summer - more heroes.
Who are the heroes of Islam? Yesterday, once again, the Palestinians answered. Hamza Muhammad Hasan Matrouk is their hero, not because he did anything to help another individual, not because lives were saved. He's their hero because he went on a commuter bus in the heart of Tel Aviv during rush hour - to murder people simply because they are Jews, simply because they are Israelis. Because he did it with maximum brutality and minimum mercy.