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September 2, 2015 / 18 Elul, 5775
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Orders are Orders

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Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon / FLASH90

“Hold on,” the young voice said. “I’ve got to check with the Mem-mem.”

The Mem-mem wasn’t certain. The truth is, he wasn’t much older than his soldiers, and the orders to shoot weren’t clear. With sensitive peace negotiations in progress, and a quasi cease fire in effect, he didn’t want to be the one to blow the Middle East situation sky high.

“Tell him to hold off until I get word from the Mem-peh,” he told the Mem-men.

The Mem-peh said he would call the Magad. After ten minutes of busy signals and crossed connections, the Magad was put on the phone.

“Why should I stick my neck out on this one?” he thought. “It’s the Machat’s headache, not mine.”

“Affirmative. I understand the situation,” the busy Machat said. “I’ll speak to the Mefaked HaUgdah and get back to you on the double.”

“Tov, tov,” Mefaked HaUgdah said with a sigh. As far as he was concerned, he didn’t know why the army had to babysit every troublemaker who wanted to live on a mountaintop in the West Bank. But since the rules about opening fire were reissued every week, depending if negotiations were stalled or progressing, he figured he had better forward the call to the Aluf HaPekud.

The Aluf HaPeku didn’t have an answer. He wasn’t in a hurry to make headlines. If he messed up, he’d catch all the blame. Besides, he was an army man, not a politician. So he decided to call the Ramat-kal.

The army’s Chief Officer wasn’t about to put his future career on the line when cameras from all over the world were focused on Tzahal. But since a soldier was in danger, he got through to the Defense Minister as fast as he could.

“I’ve got a soldier being bombarded by stones on a hilltop near Shechem. Can I give him a green light to shoot?”

“What are you asking me for?” the Defense Minister answered. “Call the Prime Minister.”

“You call him, that’s your job.”

With a deep sigh, the Defense Minister called the man whom the nation had elected to bring security to the land.

The Israeli Prime Minister took a moment to think. This wasn’t a time for gut reactions. He had to keep the whole complicated picture in mind.

“Get me the President,” he said to his aide.

“Our President, sir?” the aide asked.

“No, not our President. The President of the United States.”

The President of the United States wasn’t in the Oval Office. He wasn’t in the White House. He was on a two day vacation, playing golf.

“Tell him to wait,” the President said as he lined up a putt. Biting his lip, he eyed the hole and took a few practice swings. Then, concentrating on the flag, he swung the putter forward and watched as the tiny white ball streaked over the Florida green. The ball curved along a slight slope and headed straight for the hole.

“Get in there, baby!” the President shouted. But the ball hit the rim of the cup and bounced over the hole, coming to a stop a few golf clubs away.

“Damn!” the President swore, shaking his head.

“The Israeli Prime Minister,” his aide said, holding the phone out.

“Yeah, yeah, in a minute,” the President answered, striding over to his ball. Once again, he lined up the putt. This time, the curve broke in the other direction. Focusing between the cup and the ball, he gave the putter a flick. Once again, the ball hit the lip and bounced out, coming to rest only inches away.

“Damn it!” the President moaned.

With his golf cap, he wiped the sweat off his brow. After a few sips of cold water he looked around for his aide, who was standing at his side with the telephone.

“Hello, Mr. President, shalom,”Israel’s Prime Minister said.

“Yeah, shalom,” the President answered.

“How are you, sir?” the Prime Minister asked.

“I’m on vacation,” the President answered.

“Yes, sir, I know, sir. I’m sorry to bother you, but I have a soldier under attack and I want to know if he can open fire.”

“Open fire? In the middle of peace negotiations? Are you people nuts?”

About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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28 Responses to “Orders are Orders”

  1. Stephen Leavitt says:

    Is that the end of the story?

  2. Anonymous says:

    To Stephen Leavitt — Yes, it's the end of the story — for that soldier, for his wife, his son, & others who had loved him, known him, cared about him in the past, & those who would have in the future, for the world which would have gained from whatever he may have given it. It's the end of the story for a soldier who follows orders that can kill him, instead of risking a jail term.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The orders were not to fire unless your life is threaten. Soon as a stone landed inside the tower, this soldiers life was in harms way. He should have fired his weapon right at those who were attacking the tower. My attitude would have been, let the damned prime go out and defend the tower, the orders would be changed very rapidly. The business of buck passing is bull. There is an old saying that I rather be tried by 12 then carried by 6.

  4. POURQUOI TANT DE JUIFS ONT VOTER OBAMA : LA SUIVI , LE TRAVAIL N'A PAS ETE FAT SUFFISAMENT POUR PREVENIR QUI EST OBAMA POUR ISRAEL? o.k 10% de moins..POURQUOI ETRE DEMOCRATE? SI C'EST POUR EXPLOSER LA TERRE?

  5. Tzvi Fishman says:

    Is that your wife in the photo?

  6. Liad Bar-el says:

    “Days of Mashiach” is a great book that I read in one sitting. Tzvi has a strong message in this book. To those who are of Bal Chuva, it has an even stronger meaning. IMO, the message I got was the utter wastefulness of living a life without G-d and a complete foolishness without learning Torah and the actual putting that learning into action of one’s every day activities. Tzvi and others who returned to G-d jump up with the most energetic vigor to help our brothers and sisters to realize the utter wastefulness and complete foolishness of their lives without the learning and the putting into actual use HaShem’s commands. For those of our brothers and sisters who have suffered the violent waters of Sandy, should know the “watershed” of G-d commandments is living in Eretz Yisrael. Shabbat Shalom.

  7. Liad Bar-el says:

    Stephen, first of all, I would like to thank you for your efforts in this site, the Jewish Press. For what little I have read so far, I can say you have some very valuable people like Lori, Yori, Tzvi and many others. Great site!

    Getting back to this story, Stephen, IMO the story is actually continuing for it is part of these times of which the books is titled “Days of Mashiach”. If that solider was representing Israel, one can see that this story is very real. Israel is being shot at continually and it’s government leaders, America, UN, EU and many other nations are telling Israel not to shoot back. Instead, Israel waits until one of us gets killed and then the government goes out to bomb empty buildings and empty tunnels. This story also portrays that the Torah law, which states that we are to protect ourselves against danger of life at all times, is not being followed by the Solider, not by his commanders and not by Israel’s leaders.

    Regardless, of Israel’s failed efforts in this story, if one would read other stories in this book, one would see how HaShem comes in these types of events.

  8. Yehuda Cohen says:

    Rafi Eitan who betrayed Pollard said: "It was not an easy moment. There was a government decision and I cooperated with the Americans – they knew who I was and they knew my name…at the time the evidence was like a great emotional storm inside me. I had a deep feeling that I should not talk to them about the case, that they certainly do not have Pollard's best interests at heart. But on the other hand I am a disciplined soldier and I never acted against the government's guidelines, even if I thought I should act otherwise."

  9. Yehuda Cohen says:

    Rafi Eitan who betrayed Pollard said: "It was not an easy moment. There was a government decision and I cooperated with the Americans – they knew who I was and they knew my name…at the time the evidence was like a great emotional storm inside me. I had a deep feeling that I should not talk to them about the case, that they certainly do not have Pollard's best interests at heart. But on the other hand I am a disciplined soldier and I never acted against the government's guidelines, even if I thought I should act otherwise." In this case, Rafi Eitan should be in jail for following orders.

  10. Unfortunately, the Jews in America are more interested in undermining the traditional American majority than in fully supporting Israel. They would rather displace and dispossess White Americans than back Israel against Iran.

  11. In other words, they hate White Europeans more than they hate the mullahs.

Comments are closed.

Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
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