United Hatzalah program honors our survivors, war veterans with specialized medical care
Israel received the coffins of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser in exchange for the release of the brutal murderer Samir Kuntar, four Hizbullah terrorists and a number of terrorist corpses on the very day we went with our family to Latrun for our grandson’s graduation from basic training.
We were on the way to the Armored Tank Division base between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, close to Ramle, when we heard on the radio that instead of our missing, living soldiers, for whose safe return we had been hoping and praying, we were receiving their bodies. No doubt they were killed in the initial operation in 2006 and Hizbullah had been playing mind games with their families and our nation ever since.
So it was with heavy hearts that we entered Latrun, despite a semi-picnic atmosphere on that very hot July day. The families of the soldiers had brought food and drink and we had some time to talk with them before the official program began.
Our grandson Shmuel, 21 and married just three months ago, had earned his orange cap in the chilutz v’hatzola (search and rescue) unit, and we watched under the scorching sun as he and his comrades marched, presented arms, received their caps, etc.. This all led up to the singing of Hatikvah, our national anthem, which never fails to bring tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. The soldiers threw their caps into the air in celebration of a few days’ leave before their next posting.
This ceremony is not new to me. We had gone through it in the 1980’s when our own four children were in the army. We have also seen other grandsons complete training in both the IDF and the Israeli Air Force. In a year or two, other grandchildren will join them.
It doesn’t get any easier. One boy, just 16, spent part of his school holidays in Eilat taking a diving course and learning how to hold his breath underwater without an oxygen tank. He has informed his parents he wants to be a Navy Seal, one of the most dangerous jobs he could choose. His older brother is serving in a bomb squad.
And all the time, the question in my mind is: What if? What if we had not made aliyah? What if we’d remained in the safety of Australia, my birthplace? Would these young people now be graduating college rather than completing army training, preparing not for war but rather a career and a financially secure future?
The truth is, had we not moved here we would not have had these particular grandchildren. Our children would not have served in the Army or married their Israeli partners. We would probably have had other well-loved grandchildren, but not the 18 who are the fruit of our aliyah, and I can’t imagine life without any of them.
The price we have paid is very high and the chances are that things will not be different should we be blessed with great-grandchildren. With enemies on every border, terrorists even with Israeli passports, Hamas and Fatah actively encouraging suicide bombings, and rockets continuing to rain down on cities like Sderot, Middle East peace still seems an impossible dream.
Despite all this, I could not imagine living anywhere else. This is our country, our people. I feel so privileged to wake up every morning in Jerusalem, where the most mundane tasks take on a special significance just because they are happening in this holy, mystical city.
Hope has been described as the waking man’s dream, and this is what sustains us. Hope – Hatikvah. And that is why, no matter how often I stand to sing the words about a free people in our own land, the tears will flow. But, as always, I will feel indescribably proud.
About the Author: Dvora Waysman is the author of 13 books, one of which, “The Pomegranate Pendant” was made into the movie “The Golden Pomegranate.” Born in Australia, she has lived in Jerusalem for 44 years.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
She had many names and was many things to many people, but to me she was just Babineni.
Is ISIS in Gaza? “No, but there are ISIS loyalists here..we pray to God they unite under ISIS’ flag”
Rabbi Portal was that great “inspirer,” changing people for the better, enriching the lives of all
There is no way to explain the Holocaust. I know survivors who are not on speaking terms with G-d. I know many who are the opposite. I have no right to go there…
When a whole side of your family perishes, friends become the extended family you do not have.
“We stand with Israel because of its values and its greatness and because its such a wonderful ally”
Mr. Obama himself inelegantly cautioned members of the Senate to be careful not to “screw up” the negotiations by seeking to have input into the future of the sanctions regime that has been imposed on Iran.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
Mitchell Bard is nothing if not prolific. He has written and edited 23 books, including “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Middle East” and “The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East.” Bard, who has a Ph.D. in political science from UCLA, is also the executive director of both the […]
Understanding the process described in Dayenu reveals deep relevance for us today.
For Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, the tanks, planes, and uniforms of the IDF were implements of mitzvot
The only way to become humble is honesty about our experiences; it’s the only path to true humility
How can you run away from Israel and all the things that have shaped your life?
Just imagine you are walking through a beautiful garden. Feast your eyes on the colors of the flowers, the grass at your feet, the leaves of the trees in shades from green to silver. Listen to the birds. Let the sunshine caress your face. Smell the perfume.
This is a remarkable book to assist those of us – and that means everyone – who are trying to find our way in life, with all its setbacks and pain, as well as for people who want to help people.
Forty-six years ago, in the first week of June, Israel stunned the world when it wasn’t looking. Four years later, Israel stunned me when I wasn’t looking.
Jerusalem was never real to me. It was a name I came across in books of Bible stories as a child. If I’d ever tried to imagine it, it would have been like places in my books of fairy stories. I knew it was a city with crenellated walls, with domes and towers and minarets. In my mind, I saw it peopled with old men with long beards and flowing robes, and women with clay jugs precariously balanced on their heads.
Jews all over the world celebrate Israel’s Independence Day – even those who have no intention of ever coming on aliyah, and many of whom have never even visited Israel. “It’s a kind of insurance policy” one overseas friend told me. “By supporting Israel financially and emotionally, I know that its sanctuary is available to me or my children or grandchildren should the need ever arise.”
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/living-in-hopedv/2008/08/06/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: