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May 2, 2016 / 24 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘soldiers’

A Soldier’s Mother: A Vacation Day in Israel

Friday, April 29th, 2016

There is nothing like Chol Hamoed in Israel. There are two major holidays in Judaism that have what is considered a “holy” day at the beginning and a “holy” day at the end, with what is referred to as the “intermediary” days being considered as…wait for it…half-holy. What this means is that the first and last days are like the Sabbath – we don’t drive, use electricity, phones, computers, etc. and have special prayers. These two holidays are Sukkot and Passover (Pesach). The intermediary days are called Chol HaMoed and while you are allowed to drive, use electricity, phones, etc. it is considered holiday-like and hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of Israelis take vacation and take to the parks, the beaches, the streets.

It isn’t about shopping; it’s about just relaxing. Some families go different places every day; others use the time to catch up on resting and just doing nothing. Yesterday, we went north.

For once, I’ll use pictures to speak, rather than words. It was an amazing day…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paula Stern

A Soldier’s Mother: The Silence

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

I write in anger… Not a good thing to do at all.

I write in astonishment, in pain.

Yesterday a bomb went off… No, that’s wrong. It didn’t go off. That is a ridiculous, passive way to describe a completely avoidable event.

Yesterday, a Palestinian terrorist set off a bomb. I don’t know all the details; I know the result. Twenty-one people (or perhaps it is 20 people and a terrorist…at this moment, as I think of the suffering, I find it hard to credit the terrorist as having enough humanity to be human), were injured – two critically. One is likely the bomber…the second…the second breaks my heart and calls forth my anger. In so many ways, this could be me.

A mother and daughter – her’s 15/mine 16 – got on a bus. The daughter went to the back of the bus to get two seats; the mother went through the line to pay for her and her daughter. The bus exploded. The terrorist was in the back of the bus. The daughter, Eden Dadon, had already made her way there. Her mother, Racheli was in the front of the bus when it exploded and flames tore through the bus.

The sound of the explosion is deafening…so too is the silence. It is the sound I hear this morning as I sit in Israel, afraid to check the news. And so, in anger, I write. Not to everyone but to those who have family living in Israel, to those who claim to love this land. To those who should know the price of silence, if they no nothing else of our history, our people. I tell you with all honesty, if you didn’t take two minutes of your precious time to condemn the latest terror attack…you are part of the problem.

If you take the time to come on Facebook and post the latest picture of your children, what movie you just saw, your latest vacation pictures…swimming, skiing…whatever, but didn’t take two f******g minutes to tell others that they blew up a bus in Jerusalem, injuring 21 people, including several children…shame on you.

I have no words to describe our justifiable anger at your silence.

And I will leave you with one last thought – silence is as great a crime as the terror itself. One ignites the bomb…the other enables its power and success.

Paula Stern

Israeli Upgrade to Turkish Tank Protects Soldiers from ISIS Anti-Tank Missile

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

An Israeli upgrade on a U.S.-made M60T tank used by Turkish military forces in Mosul helped save those soldiers from death in a missile attack by Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists last week (April 19).

The attack, seen in a video released April 19 by the terror group, involved a Russian-made 129K9 Kornet ATGM (anti-tank guided missile) fired at a Turkish tank that was on a hilltop.

The missile struck the tank but it did not explode, nor did it burn. The upgrades made to the tank by Israel were sold to Turkey a decade ago.

None of the crew were injured and the tank sustained only minimal damage, according to a Turkish military official quoted by the Andalou Agency.

The tank was deployed by Turkey to Bashiqah, 30 kilometers northeast of Mosul in northern Iraq. The Turkish military source said Da’esh attacked the tank at Bashiqah, incurring minor damage but no casualties.

The source added the Turkish forces immediately returned fire and killed 32 Da’esh fighters.

The Iraqi government was apparently unaware of the presence of Turkish forces in the country until December 2015, according to a report on Thursday (April 21) by Jane’s defense magazine. The government allegedly demanded at that time that Ankara withdraw all of its troops from Iraq, but Turkey ignored the directive. Ankara insisted the base in Bashiqah was established for the purpose of training a militia to expel Da’esh from Mosul.

Hana Levi Julian

A Soldier’s Mother: I Promise I’ll Still Love You

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016
The great thing about the Passover holiday is that you get to clean everything, find everything. It’s a journey of discovery…at a time when you really have no time or patience for it…and yet…there you go. Years ago, faced with the fact that my oldest son was going to be coming home very close to the start of the holiday (and I was just grateful he would be home to share it with us), I realized that I had to go clean his room. And so began an adventure for me and Elie’s 8 year old sister (Bullets, Buttons, and Batteries).
David went into the army 5 months ago, which was probably the last time I cleaned his room. Since then, I’ve asked, suggested, whatever, but mostly left him to his own unless someone was coming over to sleep (and then I go with a quick straighten and mop but ignore the cabinets and under things). Like his oldest brother, he is comfortable in the chaos of his own making and so his room suffers tremendously when he comes home, only eased a bit by having guests stay over. For the last two weekends, I’ve reminded him…for the last two weekends, he’s told me he’s “working on it” which is, as any mother can tell you, another way of saying…”it ain’t getting done” or “it’s a work in progress” that will, if left to him, always be in progress.
Days left, I have no choice but to enter the lion’s den. I’m prepared this time, having cleaned his room many times in the past. I have large garbage bags for all the wrappers; I have another for the laundry I knew I would find. I took old plastic contains, as I did years ago with Elie, to begin organizing…batteries, and pieces of phones, coins, and the like. The books go back on the shelf, the clean clothes back in the closet. The extra sheets left from the last time we used the room for guests goes into the laundry. A bullet…yes, there’s a stray bullet on his floor. And a remote control car…and a gun that looks too real, but isn’t, and a broken water gun, long since abandoned.
Dishes…and I knew I was missing some forks…and a certificate for the course he finished long ago for the Magen David Adom first aid training. There are pieces to the new shaver we bought him last year and the blanket that I knitted last winter…I was wondering where that went.
And socks…more laundry if I can only find the second one…but there’s still time and what to clean. Another dish…another spoon. How many times have I told him not to take food upstairs. And some candy bars that his older brother and younger sister quickly grabbed…he’ll come home too close to the Passover holiday to be able to eat them anyway.
And as I clean the room and think of how many times I asked him to clean it, and how he’ll apologize and really be sorry that he didn’t…and how I’ll tease him about the missing fork and those dishes, I thought of a child’s book I have. The child asked the parent in many ways, “will you still love me if” and each time the parent says, “I’ll love you even if you…”
I’ll love you even if I can’t find the matching pair to your NEW and expensive New Balance sneaker.
I’ll love you despite finding four plates, 7 utensils and two cups upstairs.
I’ll love you despite finding finding that you brought home those great plastic boxes that I use to send home-baked goodies with you to the army…and two of them were crushed.
I’ll love you even though I had to pick up all those wrappers and try matching up all those socks.
And my Davidi, I promise I’ll still love you – even if the rest of the room is as bad as the first half was…
Paula Stern

A Soldier’s Mother: Today, In My Little Country

Monday, April 18th, 2016

In my little country today, a bus exploded and 15 people were injured. Some seriously. Some moderately. Some lightly. People began calling right away – a son to check on everyone here; my mother to check as well.

It’s what you do…first you worry about your family…and then you realize that even if you are blessed – that your family is fine…there are families now rushing to the hospital, rushing to call others, waiting to speak with doctors, praying…praying…making deals with God and with themselves.

At first police hesitated and now it has been confirmed – in my little country, our enemies intentionally exploded a civilian bus, intentionally targeted innocent passengers heading home from work, from shopping. In my little country, again we mourn.

We mourn and we yearn for a day when our enemies will choose to talk instead of kill. There is no justification for what was done today. It is not about the occupation, it is not about economic hardships. It is…it was…it always will be about hatred. So long as they hate us enough to kill…even the most innocent among us…there will be no peace.

Paula Stern

A Soldier’s Mother: An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Part 1 of a series…I have decided to write to each candidate because I have the right to express my opinion, my concerns, my fears. Because as America contemplates and prepares to go to the polls, my nation has a stake as well.

As in all things in life, a personal message is just that. It is about what is important to the person…and from the start, I will say that each person is different. Where you are in your life is likely different from where I am in mine. So if you have a different opinion, I celebrate the freedom we have to express it. This is my opinion, nothing more…and perhaps equally as important, nothing less.

The first open letter goes to Bernie Sanders – because if all was right with the world, he would be the man most able to understand my reality, my world. Ah, but he’s not and yet still I write to him first.

What should have been a celebration – a Jew running for President, is instead a great embarrassment and worse, a greater threat to Israel because though we recognize the lie and the manipulation in Bernie Sanders’ words, much of the world is fooled. No, this man is not a friend of Israel. He is, in reality, not just a Jew who lost family in the Holocaust, but, in truth, one who lost himself from his earliest years.

Dear Bernie,

How is it possible that a Jew could be running for president of the United States of America? What a wonderful place we have come to in history for that to even be possible. And yet…how is it possible, if you get the nomination, God forbid, I will do all in my power to convince others not to vote for you?

The answer is actually quite simple and explains what was so wrong with Barack Obama coming to office. If America is to learn anything from the travesty that was the eight years of Obama’s reign, it is that you must vote for a person not based on the person’s color, gender, or religion but based on what the individual has done and what he or she says will happen if the voters deliver victory his or her way.

What we have in this election is a woman who hopes that despite her poor record, women will vote for her because they think there is some inherent principle that women should vote for women, that Blacks must, by definition, believe that a Black man (or woman) is the best person for the job. That is as flawed as assuming that you will be good for the Jews because you are Jewish.

The fact is, a quick review of your life will show that you haven’t really adhered to much of the Jewish religion. Other than bagels on Sunday, the religion, the essence of our faith, seems to have eluded you. You can claim no real understanding of what Judaism is…or spirituality, for that matter. Commenting on this subject in 2016, you stated, “My spirituality is that we are all in this together and that when children go hungry, when veterans sleep out on the street, it impacts me.” That’s humanity, Bernie, not spirituality.

You seem to be very confused when it comes to the basics of Judaism, Israel, our laws and holidays. You work on Rosh Hashana and yet I’m sure you take January 1st off as New Year’s Day, don’t you, Bernie?

When someone asked you about what it means to believe in God, you said, “To me, it means that all of us are connected, all of life is connected, and that we are all tied together” Well, Bernie, that’s kumbaya, not God.

Sure, it sounds great when you tell the cameras proudly that you’re “proud to be Jewish” but you see Bernie…you need to be proud you are a Jew – a noun, Bernie, not an adjective. That’s what it is to be a Jew – it is not a description, it is the essence…and even this is probably beyond your ability to comprehend.

Bernie, Judaism is so much more but you’ve spent the last 20 plus years of your life married to a Roman Catholic woman so while you’re enamored with her religion, proudly speaking of how great a man you think the Pope is, you’ve simply gone about losing your own religion. You have no understanding of Israel, that’s for sure. And, for the good of Israel AND the United States, a president has to understand the strong ties that bind our lands.

Obama hasn’t…and the relationship has suffered but more than that. Both the US and Israel were able to survive Obama’s attempts to isolate Israel because ultimately, despite your being unwilling to accept it, Israel offers tremendous benefits to the United States. It is shameful and sad that I feel that I have to point out the fact that we are the ONLY democracy in the Middle East, that we are the only nation in the Middle East to consistently stand by the US and its interests, that we stood by you on September 11, when while throughout the Middle East, others celebrated…and finally, that for all the financial aid you give to Israel, you are more than compensated by the tremendous military intelligence we share with the US military and the strong support we show consistently while most of your allies are silent.

Bernie, I will tell you one more thing. We here in Israel are watching you. We will not let you get away with slandering the Jewish State. The fact that you were born a Jew does not entitle – even you – to do that. My son was there in the Gaza war; he and thousands of other Israelis worked around the clock to do two things – the first was to stop the missile fire coming from Gaza into Israeli cities. The second was to do all that was humanly possible to minimize casualties on the Palestinian side. They held fire when it was clear there were civilians nearby; they dropped leaflets warning civilians to get out of the way. They used precision weapons as far from what was being fired at us as humanly possible. And you…do you condemn Hamas for firing at hundreds of thousands of people? Do you praise Israel for the tremendous efforts we made to protect our own civilians while trying not to harm theirs?

No…none of that for good old, Bernie. You have to lie…worse, use Hamas to guide you. Ten thousand innocent civilians, Bernie? Is that the best you could come up with? More than five times the actual number! And then, days later, when hundreds of programs and articles and individuals call you on your “error”, what do you do? You admit that you were wrong…and then proceed to be wrong again. So, with your second “estimate,” you still overestimate by at least 25%…even the UN numbers show you are wrong. Why, Bernie?

Why would a man who proclaims that he is proud to be a Jew, slander the Jewish State?

Bernie, I’ll be honest with you. There isn’t a chance in hell that I’ll vote for you. What I will say, is that I will be watching you…me…and all Israelis. This isn’t the first time the huge chasm between Israel and the American Jewish community has centered around politics and political choice. It probably won’t be the last.

So, from Israel, I tell you, Bernie, that we will show more honor than you. Unlike you, we will be honest and we will watch. And just as you clearly feel no reason to show any special consideration to Israel just because you were born into the Jewish religion, let me assure you that just because you were born a Jew, that doesn’t mean we have to support you.

So the lines have been drawn, Bernie. Fact is, no one thinks you are going to win…there won’t be a Jewish president in the White House…at least not starting in January 2017. What there will be, however, is one man pushed to the wall to declare his true feelings, who proved that he is no friend of Israel. So, Bernie, perhaps something good has come of this election.

We in Israel have felt the “bern”…and now we send it right back at you. Israel will not support Bernie Sanders for president.

And, on a personal note, as it appears you have no Jewish children or grandchildren, I will say that your greatest failure won’t be the loss of this election; it will be the carelessness with which you abandoned the people of your father and mother.

Paula Stern

A Soldier’s Mother: In My Little Country

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

Yesterday in my little country, a woman was lightly injured when Arabs threw rocks at her car; a soldier was lightly injured when another Arab attempted to stab him in the head with an ax, luckily – with the help of God, the soldier’s head was protected by a helmet. Two young Arabs…12 years old…went into Jerusalem with knives and a “goodbye note” – wanting to join in this wonderful knife-intifada. Gratefully, they were caught. A rocket was fired from Gaza setting off Israel’s advanced warning alert system…no rocket was detected as landing inside Israel…and yesterday, Israel decided to charge a 19 year old solder with manslaughter for killing a terrorist.

Yes, I know that despite the testimony of medics on the scene, the MAGAD and MEM-MEM, the video continues to speak to people. It looks like the soldier shot an unarmed man lying on the street injured…it looks that way…but how often are looks deceiving and the truth elusive?

We don’t know the truth – we know the soldier’s side and we know the side of a leftist organization. We know the side of the journalists who jumped to say the soldier should “rot in jail” and the settlers are evil and let’s all wave our flags together and sing kumbaya….and we know the truth of dozens of people murdered, hundreds of people injured…in attacks just like the one that happened moments before the soldier shot the terrorist.

Manslaughter? For doing what he thought was the right thing? When his own commanding officer admits the terrorist was NOT neutralized and that he feared the terrorist was armed with a bomb?

Manslaughter?

Dear Army – please send my combat soldier home. He is barely 20 years old and if you will not stand by our sons…send mine home. Take some mature 30 year old man who has lived long enough to know all the angles…a 30 year old who will hesitate long enough to either discover the terrorist is not armed with a bomb…or who will die for that hesitation. Or more likely, a 30 year old trained combat soldier who will know how to make sure the threat is known…and who will THEN shoot the terrorist in the head, rather than allowing this travesty of justice to unfold in the media rather than the courts where it belongs.

But send my son home…you have no right to take them that young if you do not accept that at the end of the day, they are 19 and 20 years old. And unlike their American counterparts, they aren’t going out drinking and hanging out in bars every night; they aren’t getting pregnant and having abortions without even knowing who the father is, or waking up in the morning not even remembering her name.

You dare to take them to be soldiers; then you put them on a combat line when they aren’t even fully trained (even the commanding officer admitted the soldiers had not been trained to handle a situation where there is a live but injured terrorist who might be armed).

So send my son home. I have given you two sons already to fight in your combat units. I have let you send one son to war twice while I sat home and cried and prayed and made deals with God to keep him safe because he was doing something so important for our country. I kept my side of the bargain. I trusted you.

Well, forget it. If you don’t keep up your side of the bargain – send him home.

In my little country, my son is now on a combat line, a check point, somewhere in Israel. He’s been in the army only five months…and I have lost my faith in the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister and the Chief of Staff…you have no right to take these amazing boys if you don’t train them right, if you put them in situations and expect them to decide how to handle it…and then when they do…before you even have the facts…you abandon them.

I suggest you put the leftist journalists and the Chief of Staff on that check point…and when the Arabs pull out the knives…you can all sit down and sing together.

Paula Stern

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/a-soldiers-mother-in-my-little-country/2016/04/17/

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