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When my daughter first made aliyah she was a student at Hebrew University. After a year she called me and told me she was enlisting. “I can’t be a student when I have not served. Everyone here has. I have a responsibility to protect the country just like they did.” I argued with her. “OK, but don’t interrupt your degree. It doesn’t make sense. You should first finish and then serve.” But she was adamant. Studying could wait. Protecting Israel could not. It was her responsibility as a Jew to defend her people.

Now, I wonder what demon came over me that would ever have suggested she wait. I have spent my life fighting Israel’s battles on TV, newspapers, live debates, and recently in politics. My first reaction should have been, “I can’t be more proud of you for wanting to defend the Jewish people,” which is how I feel now and what I constantly tell her. So why didn’t those words come out of my mouth? Perhaps it was because in the back of my mind I feared moments like these where my baby girl would be on a base with rockets falling nearby and I would be thousands of miles away unable to protect her

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But she is not a girl any more. She is a grown woman. And, unlike me, she has donned the uniform of the Jewish people, ensuring that a nation that has suffered eternal oppression is granted a birth of freedom and protection through the courage of its fighting men and women.

The father is just a man. But the daughter? She is a hero.

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Shmuley Boteach, whom the Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America,” is the founder of The World Values Network and the international bestselling author of 30 books, including “The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

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