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August 1, 2015 / 16 Av, 5775
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The Israeli General and His New Mercedes

A general showed up to the checkpoint in full uniform driving a brand new, sparkling clean Mercedes.
Mercedes

Now, if that title doesn’t hit high on the spam charts, I don’t know what will…but stay with me.

Last week, a representative from a very large company came to our offices to discuss potential new business. As with most meetings in Israel, it was a blend of personal and professional. The contract was signed, but the discussions veered off into so many things that are Israel, including the army and the recent Operation Pillar of Defense.

I mentioned my blog and how Elie had been part of the call-up. He mentioned his brother – in the Military Police – being sent there and told me how he had never seen his mother so devastated, so paralyzed, so terrified, as during those days.

And then he told us what his brother was doing – basically guarding an entry point to the “closed military zone” where the fighting would take place…if the government had chosen to send in the ground forces. Elie told the man about his mad drive with the artillery vehicles. And the man told us two stories  from his brother.

The first was of a young man who drove up and demanded entry. The representative’s brother explained that it was a closed area and he couldn’t let him in.

“I’m a pilot,” said the young driver rather arrogantly.

A bit sheepishly, the rep’s brother explained that he needed to see identification, which was quickly produced and the pilot was allowed to enter. The next day, a general showed up in full uniform driving a brand new, sparkling clean Mercedes. I can’t tell you what model, but it was enough to impress the young soldier. This time, without asking, the general pulled out papers to prove he should be allowed in, though I wonder if it even crossed the mind of the young soldier to deny the general in the first place. But deny him he did.

“You can’t go in there!” he told the general.

The general hesitated for a moment and then asked the soldier, “why NOT?”

“Your car,” said the young man. “It’s new. The mud. Look. You can’t,” he stumbled as he turned to point behind him to the tanks tearing up the wet, muddy ground.

And then the general did the most extraordinary thing. He laughed and told the soldier, “I have that car because of everything this country did for me. I’ll give it all back if I have to – including the car.”

With that, he got in the Mercedes – the brand new, sparkling Mercedes, and drove it into the thick mud, covering the tires and splattering the side within seconds.

All that we have, we have been given because we are here – our safety, our lives, our freedom, our blessings.

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About the Author: Visit Paula Stern's blog, A Soldier's Mother.

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