2014-08-01 10.55.57

In the supermarket today, as I bought some Challah-Bread, the traditional bread of the Sabbath meal, two reserve soldiers came up to the bakery counter to buy some ‘borekas’, a middle-eastern pastry snack.  They were sent to the supermarket by the army to buy a cart-full of provisions for their platoon.  But they came to the bakery counter because they wanted to surprise their brothers-in-arms with a treat for Shabbat.

“How much would 90 borekas be?” the soldier on the left asked the woman behind the counter.

“It goes by weight”, she said.

He looked uncertain.  He wasn’t carrying much of his own money with him.

“Brother,” I said, “Get anything you want!  It’s my treat.  Do you want to pick up some hotdogs or burgers, too?”

They were so happy to just buy the borekas for their friends.  They thanked me profusely.  They asked to take a picture together.  They thought I was the most amazing guy in the world!

Yeah, right.  Me.

What about them?!  Judging by the non-regulation length of their hair, I could guess they were reservists.  Most of these guys have young families at home.  They walk into the hell of Gaza, into a necessary war that is not of our choosing, knowing that they may never hold their children or kiss their wives again (God forbid).  And they do it with unflinching bravery and smiles.

And they treat me like I am the hero.

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Last week a Kassam Missile fired by Hamas landed in an open property next to my home.

2014-07-22 17.43.15-12014-07-22 17.44.44-1

 

That’s my orange house in the background.

The concussion blew out my screens, split the center-wall of my house, and ripped a hole through my roof.  Those Kassam Missiles have a big payload, and an enormous shrapnel blast-radius.

The thing is, there are no army bases for miles and miles around here.  And half-a-dozen Kassam Missiles fall on our community every day.

And then there are the terror-tunnels.  The other day my wife and I left our home at 8am, our kids still asleep in their beds.  I was bringing her to work, and I was heading to accompany a young friend of mine to the funeral of two of his 20-something year old friends who were killed the previous day in Gaza in an RPG ambush.

About three miles from our home, we suddenly saw an army helicopter hovering over a wheat-field, and about a half-dozen humvees racing across the same fields.

We turned on the radio, and heard an alert instructing everyone in our area to lock their doors and stay inside their homes; terrorists had come through another terror-tunnel and were loose in the fields.

My wife an I looked at each other.  We were three miles from home.  Our children were home alone, asleep in their beds.  We turned white, as fear washed over us.  “Even if we were at home”, I whispered to my wife, “we would still be helpless.  We have no gun, and these terrorists are highly trained killers…  These soldiers in front of us are the only thing between us and those who would do our children harm…”  It was a horrible thing to have to think about as a parent.  It is the kind of calculus no parent should ever have to process.

(http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4041237,00.html)

As we spun our car around – pointlessly, to the logical mind, but our minds were not interested in logic – I called the security coordinator of our farming town.  “It’s an error”, she said.  “They are not loose in our area.  They are loose around a village 3 miles from here, and the army is already closing in on them.  We’re safe.”

For now.

And so here I am in the supermarket buying some pastries for a platoon of soldiers who have left their own families behind, walking into the fog of war in order to protect mine.  And they treat me like I’m the hero.  Yeah, right.

These beautiful, selfless young men and women of the Israeli Defense Force.  Key word: “Defense”.

Amazing.

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But here is the part that will surprise you, if you are not from Israel.

I am a fair representative of the Israeli people.  And I live under circumstances that could easily allow me to hate “the other”.

But I don’t.  And neither do over 80% of Israelis.  You wouldn’t know this from the press.  They prefer to make sensationalistic stories out of those that are too deeply scarred by war to be able to forgive anymore.  But the vast, vast, vast majority of us want no war with the Palestinians.  In fact, just the opposite.

We want peace for them.  We are an intelligent enough people to understand that our fates are tied to each other.  We know that nothing could offer Israelis a greater guarantee for a peaceful existence than a prosperous Palestinian society.

But Hamas does not want that for either of us, Israelis or Palestinians.  Death on both sides of the border is a victory for Hamas.

 

Here in Israel, we see the same images of Palestinian suffering that those in the rest of the world do.  And you are a fool and an idiot if you cannot comprehend that it hurts us here so much more than it does you on the other side of the world (and of course, it hurts innocent Palestinians most of all).

My Palestinian cousins and I are victims of the same darkness.  The missile and terrorist threat to my children is reflected in the 1,400 lives lost over the past three weeks in Gaza.  We both live under the specter of the same cruel regime.  Hamas turns its own children into targets, and our children into trigger-men.  (http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/07/29/hamas-police-shoot-kill-starving-gazans-a-day-after-executing-protesters/)

Diplomacy will not end this madness.  Regimes like Hamas, Isis, and Al Qaida do not leave their bloodlust ideologies at the doorpost of US-brokered and UN-endorsed agreements.

For each time Israel stopped the last two wars in Gaza in order to spare more lives, the cost has been a stronger Hamas, another round of fighting, and nearly double the lives lost on both sides.

Cancer is not cured by removing half-a-tumor.

We must steel our nerve, grit our teeth, and finish this.  Hamas must be removed from power.

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A the funeral of Gilad, one of the first Israeli soldiers to fall in this war, his father wept over the fresh grave of his young son.  Through his sobs, this is what he said:

“Please, God, let us win this war, so that not one more Israeli family has to bury their children.. and so that not one more Palestinian family has to bury their children.”

He said these words over the fresh grave of his son, killed hours earlier by a Palestinian.

This is the DNA of Israel.  These are not words spoken to sound nice, or to improve our diplomatic standing in front of the world or our image in front of the media.  These are the words of a father spoken through sobs over the grave of his son, who fell protecting my family and Israel, and trying to save the Palestinians from the grips of a terrorist regime called Hamas.

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So these soldiers in the supermarket thank me endlessly and treat me like a hero for buying them pastries.

But I know what is in their DNA.  And I know what is in mine.  And I know what is in the DNA of the Palestinians that the world-press is failing by not telling the real story of Gaza. (http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/07/why_the_media_bear_moral_responsibility_for_the_gaza_civilian_casualties.html

http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4518/media-hamas

http://www.timesofisrael.com/the-images-missing-from-the-war-with-hamas/)

 

Our DNA is peace.  It is love.  It is hope.  It is a mutual dream of no more wars, and prosperity for all of us.

And as those soldiers leave the supermarket with smiles of gratitude, I return home to the sensational and distorted media-images of targets and trigger-men.

And my tears flow.