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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘hostages’

Their Heroes and Ours…

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

I know I have said this before, but I have to say it now. This morning. Now. Last night, we released 26 murderers – cowards, terrorists. The most pathetic of “men.” Really, to call them men is to insult 50% of the world. These are not men by any stretch of the imagination.

The government of Israel understands how sickening, how disgusting it is, how painful it is for Israelis to watch the Palestinians celebrate the return of these sniveling things and so it arranged to release them at night. How pathetic, how stupid. Did you really think the Palestinians wouldn’t come out to celebrate because it was at night? Seriously?

Let me tell you about the heroes of Israel. We have many…

Natan Sharansky has always been one of my heroes. He’s a quiet man, brilliant. He’s short…really short…and yet he is one of the tallest of men because unlike many (including most of the ministers in the government), he stands straight and tall. He risked imprisonment in the Soviet Union to be who and what he was…

His application to marry Avital was refused by Soviet authorities. He married her in a Jewish ceremony which was not recognized by the government. Today, the Soviet Union is no more; their marriage remains and they are now grandparents. Within 24 hours of that wedding, Avital had to leave the Soviet Union.

Three years later, Natan was arrested and convicted for his ongoing activities…mostly centered around maintaining his Jewish identity and trying to leave the Soviet Union to join Avital in Israel (and to get that right for millions of other Soviet Jews). For 13 years, Avital fought for Natan… and Natan fought for Avital and their life together. In 1986, Sharansky was finally freed. They came home to Israel, where they were greeted by thousands.

On July 4, 1976, Israeli soldiers flew to Entebbe and rescued more than 100 hostages. For days, the drama of the kidnapping of an Air France flight had held the world’s attention – but nowhere more than in Israel. The hijackers – German and Palestinian – separated Jew and non-Jew, releasing the non-Jews and holding the Israeli/Jewish passengers. The crew of the jet, though not Jewish, refused to leave their passengers and remained hostages as well.

The lives of the passengers were threatened and in a daring raid, Israeli fighters flew over 1,000 miles to rescue them. In the battle that followed, Yoni Netanyahu, the leader of the operation, was killed. The only casualty. He had given orders that wounded among the forces were not to be treated until the hostages were rescued – that all focus must be on saving the Jews in that terminal. Yoni was in the front, running towards the terminal where they were held, when he was hit.

Within hours, the planes were loaded and flying back to Israel. Thousands met them at the airport and celebrated their return. These are our heroes – Natan Sharansky, Yoni Netanyahu, the passengers of the plane who held on, knowing Israel would never abandon them.

For these, thousands come out to welcome them home.

The obvious connection here is to compare what Gaza and Ramallah came to welcome last night. I can’t make the comparison – or maybe I have already. For me, I am filled with gratitude that my heroes are men who lived with honor, not cowards who stabbed women and axed men to death.

I know the so-called peace talks will continue – personally, I couldn’t even look at these negotiators or be in the same room with them. They sicken me; their culture of death sickens me. There is inside of me a part that thinks our greatest victory, even if the world does not recognize it, is simply that we are not like them. That when we come out in the thousands to welcome someone home – it is for a man who has fought for freedom; a man who has died for others…not killed for his religion.

At the end of the day, I would rather belong to a people who mourn the death of Yoni Netanyahu, than one that celebrates the life of Samir Kuntar or the 26 miserable murderers we released last night.

An Only in Israel Story from India

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

We’re hosting the 7th Annual MEGAComm conference this week (www.megacomm.org) and it’s shaping up to be an amazing event. A little over a week ago, we got word that we’d have an honored guest from India, sent by Adobe. This is an incredible recognition of the value Adobe places on our community.

I’ve been working hard to finalize so many details – the conference bag, the magazine (with help from an amazing editor and designer, proofreaders, writers who have offered articles, etc.), fliers that need to be printed, and so much more. And, in the midst of all of this, I wanted to pick up our guest at the airport to ensure his entry to the country was smooth and more, to begin a dialog that has taken place for many months, even years, over email and telephone alone.

Elie knew that I was tired and so offered to drive, leaving me free to go into the terminal to welcome our guest. As we drove back to Jerusalem, I began pointing out some of the sights – how the land is relatively flat but soon we’d be climbing up to Jerusalem (and explained how we mean this in both a physical and spiritual sense). Of the battle of 1948, and the military vehicles that remain, to this day, to a monument to those who died in the war of our independence. Of the open areas that stretch out between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and the cities and towns along the way. Of the train passing, the lake that isn’t really there – except now because of the massive amounts of rain we’ve had recently.

And finally, we pointed to the tank museum to the right. Latrun. Our guest seemed interested and so we took a small detour to drive up and show him a few tanks that are part of the museum. A large part of Elie’s life remains the army and this became part of the discussion on Israel and life here as we drove.

And then our guest shared a story that has had me smiling since. He has family members in the Indian army and some have served in Kashmir an area known for the strife that plagues it. Apparently, there was an attack and hostages were taken – among them, four Israelis. The Indian army prepared to move in and when they got there, they found that the Israelis were so annoyed at having been kidnapped, they overpowered their kidnappers, tied them up and handed them over to the army.

I explained how so many Israelis after the army take off for foreign lands for a few months to see a world beyond our small borders. They leave behind family, friends and country – and take with them so much of who they have become. No, Israelis wouldn’t sit around and wait to be rescued if the opportunity arises.

I told this story to my son-in-law, who just finished the army, and to a soldier we needed a lift into Jerusalem this morning. When I got to the end of the story, about the Israelis rescuing themselves, they both laughed and smiled.

Even from India, there are “only in Israel” stories!

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/an-only-in-israel-story-from-india/2013/02/05/

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