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January 21, 2017 / 23 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘soldiers’

Arab Fugitives Captured, Money Cache Seized by Israeli Security Forces

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

Israeli security forces captured five wanted suspects in Judea and Samaria late Wednesday night.

Three of the suspects are on the wanted list for terrorist activities.

IDF soldiers and Israeli Police officers working together with intelligence agents operating in the city of Hebron, meanwhile, seized thousands of shekels during a raid on a location in the area.

The money had been sent to the city from various terrorist organizations with messengers and handed over to specific contact people in the city, according to intelligence reports. Israeli personnel arrested the “contact” people along with the money on Wednesday night.

All personnel returned safely to base.

Hana Levi Julian

Soldiers In Hashem’s Army

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

There it was in black and blue. It was addressed to our baby Yisrael Meir. But he’s so young and innocent. How could he be getting a draft notice for the Israeli army?

Even before I was married and had children, I prayed that there would be no need for the Israel Defense Forces because Moshiach would come and restore world order and bring peace. More than three decades have passed since then, and the IDF is still a vital entity.

Growing up in the U.S., I had little contact with anything military. I do remember my cousin Gerry, who was in the US Navy, coming to visit us. He looked very handsome in his naval uniform. I also remember being present at a small family gathering when my cousin, the late Rabbi Raphael Marcus, informed all of us that he had received an army deferment notice, since he was enrolled in rabbinical school. The relief was palpable among the relatives, although I did not really have an understanding of the Vietnam War, nor war in general.

The reality of being far from any war changed drastically upon making aliyah on my own in 1981. I remember how, during the First Lebanon War in 1982, my then 56 year-old father showed up unexpectedly to volunteer in the IDF. That was, unfortunately, followed by too many wars (even if some were only called campaigns).

When our children, five boys and two girls were young, the notion of serving in the IDF loomed somewhere in the distance. But, as each of the boys turned sixteen, each one received a draft notice. On the one hand, it was a bit worrisome, but on the other hand it was uplifting because we merit to have our own army which protects and saves Jews world-wide.

There was a period of time when we had our three oldest sons serving in the IDF at the same time. Noam Chaim, who, at the time had one daughter and another on the way, served in an air force program for religious men called Shachar Kachol, “Blue Morning,” which trains soldiers to work on plane electronics. Our third child, Naftali Yehuda was in the Holon Hesder Yeshiva program (a five-year program which combines yeshiva studies and army service). He and his yeshiva friends served in the tank corps. Our fourth child, Natanel, did his service in the legal department of Ofer Prison, the largest Israeli detention prison for Arab terrorists.

Our sixth child and fourth son, Eliyahu Yeshaya is in the Ramla Hesder Yeshiva program. He was assigned to the tank corps, and went on to become a tank commander like his older brother Naftali Yehuda.

So far, only one of our sons has been close to battle. Naftali Yehuda was called up in the summer of 2014 as a reservist during Tzuk Eitan, “Operation Protective Edge.” He was stationed in a tank on the Gaza Border. His wife Ora was in her eighth month of pregnancy at the time and their one-year old son was at home with her. One can imagine her fear and worry.

And then, in the middle of the war, Naftali Yehuda called and said that he and his fellow soldiers were going to have an afternoon off in a kibbutz near the Gaza Border. My husband Abe, Ora, her son Dvir Yosef and I traveled down south. We went as far south as civilians were allowed to go and we gained entry to the kibbutz from the back entrance.

Lo and behold we had entered Gan Eden! The tweeting of birds and lush and colorful foliage greeted us as we made our way to the kibbutz family that was hosting the soldiers with a barbecue (not kosher). Some soldiers were resting or sleeping on large mats that had been placed on the grass. Others were eating at picnic tables. My eyes scanned the scene until they found Naftali Yehuda. We were all so happy to see each other.

The scene was surreal. We could hear the battle raging in Aza, but in the host’s realm there was relaxation, conversation, and the bubbly voice of our grandson. (By the way, their second child was named Dovid Amichai. Dovid haMelech, among other roles, was a successful warrior, and my son admires this personage. Amichai means “my nation lives” and this name was chosen because of Naftali Yehuda’s experiences during Operation Protective Edge.)

Wait! There’s another active soldier in the family. Our younger daughter’s husband Netanel is an officer in the canine corps. One of his tasks is leading night raids on Arab villages in search of terrorists and ammunition caches.

How do I feel about all of this army stuff? I daven for the welfare of all of our soldiers. I try not to worry. Instead I work on increasing my emuna in HaShem. I still pray that Moshiach will soon come so that there won’t be a need for our “baby” or anyone’s child to be in the army. But perhaps it will only be the next generation or the one after that who will speak of war as a relic of the past.

Adina Hershberg

A Soldier’s Mother: The Soldier’s Answer for Elor Azariya

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

Every soldier, when he comes to his first interview for being drafted to the Israel Defense Forces is given a profile number. A rating of his or her physical health. The best he or she can get is 97 – it’s a part of Israeli/Jewish culture that I love. There is no one perfect in the world. No one will get 100. My sons all were given 97.

I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry when they came home and tell me. “Math, science, Torah, Mishna – on THESE tests I wanted 97, on this one? On this you had to bring me 97???”

After the profile, each soldier is asked a simple question, “do you want to be a combat soldier?”

It is almost an unwritten law that those with 97 go to combat units, which are, for the most part, the most visible elements of the army. They are divided into different divisions – Golani, Givati, Artillery, Kfir…Elie was Artillery, Shmulik and Chaim were Kfir, Yakov and David were/are Givati – all except David finished with honor, served with pride. David is half way through. One more year. He serves with honor. He serves with pride.

After the profile, each soldier is asked a simple question, “do you want to be a combat soldier?”

Each of my soldiers, my precious sons, agreed. They would serve this land, fight for it. This morning, the military court stabbed our soldiers in the back, as did the Chief of Staff, current and former.

Tomorrow, the army will have to face a new reality. It is not only Elor Azariya that was slapped in the face, but every soldier who stands on our borders with a gun. They have been told that they must now, in the middle of a battle, stop and think what some idiot judge will think of their action.

Gone is the “follow me” attitude and in its place is “We’ll come AFTER you if we want to.” If politics requires it, if the Chief of Staff wants a photo op and a judge wants the chance to lecture a family for over two hours.

So, here’s the deal, now that you have devastated the morale of our soldiers. From this point onward, all soldiers, when asked, “will you serve as a combat soldier, should answer, “No, because of Elor Azariya, I do not agree to be a combat soldier.”

That simple. There’s your answer. No.

My youngest soldier is in a combat unit. He will finish his service to this land. I am eternally grateful that he is my youngest soldier and so that I will not be faced with this choice ever again. No. You cannot take 18 year old boys, not train them properly, put them in a situation in which they fear for their lives, and then charge them for acting against a terrorist. Right or wrong, that dead man was a terrorist who had just stabbed a soldier. Elor Azariya did not stab an innocent, unarmed man. He shot a terrorist who had not been properly neutralized in a scene that had not been “sterilized.”

His commanding officers should be removed; the Chief of Staff fired. The answer from this courts this morning is that they would rather take action against your son and mine, better punish an 18-year-old soldier than assign responsibility as needed.

So if you have a son who is about to be drafted…and if he has a high profile – have him practice this phrase…

“No, I will not be your next Elor Azariya. I do not agree to be in a combat unit. I will not go into a situation in which my life is endangered and I am ordered not to defend myself. No.”

Elor Azariya was betrayed – by the media, which we expected; by the defense ministry and higher echelons, which we did not. He was betrayed by his commanding officers and today he was betrayed by the military courts.

I encourage the judges to draft their sons and grandsons to combat units; isn’t it interesting that Bibi Netanyahu’s sons didn’t serve in combat? How many of those self-righteous media personalities served in the army? How many have risked the lives of their children in combat units. No, mine served but you will not get others.

Go for it, dear reporters of the Times of Israel, Haaretz, etc. put YOUR son’s life on the line. Send your sons into Arab neighborhoods with orders not to shoot a terrorist who has just stabbed a soldier. Risk your son’s life, not mine.

No, they will not serve.

This will be the legacy of Elor Azariya; this will be the legacy. No.

Paula Stern

Picture: Soldiers Bleeding Themselves in Protest of Azaria Verdict

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Hatzel (Heb: The Shadow), a rightwing bad boy rap artist a.k.a. Yoav Eliasi, 38, posted on his Facebook page a picture of four soldiers (so he claims) who bleed themselves over a note saying: “To the Court System! You are killing us on the inside!!!” with the dates Tevet 6, 5777, and Jan. 4, 2017.

A Military panel on Wednesday convicted IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria of manslaughter in the shooting death of an Arab terrorist who had been neutralized after stabbing an IDF soldier in the back in Hebron on Purim day, 2016. The terrorist’s partner had already been killed.

Hundreds of protesters confronted police outside the court session, some of whom cried slogans accusing the court of picking up the knife from the ground and returning it to the terrorists.

In July 2014, Hatzel led a rightwing confrontation with Israeli leftwing protesters during Operation Protective Edge against the Hamas government of Gaza. Ha’aretz described him at the time as “the dangerous product of incessant incitement by extreme rightwing elements.”

In August 2016 Hatzel enrolled as member of the Likud party.

JNi.Media

A Soldier’s Mother: Kerry on Israel

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

The problem with listening to John Kerry is that within minutes you start to get a headache – and that’s the best I can say.

As an Israeli, I was prepared to listen to him lie – and that his what he did.

I was prepared, or I thought I was, to listen to him dismiss my land, my nation, my country. His attempts to explain the latest back-stabbing actions of the Obama administration, I found myself, at first, deeply annoyed by his endless attempts to reframe the world according to John Kerry. Everything was, for this pompous ass, about him. Hundreds of innocents murdered by Islamic terrorists are easily dismissed; orphans who will forever mourn their parents, brides who never got to walk down the aisle with their fathers – all because men like John Kerry have taken the easy road for generations.

Not one single US president has had the guts to threaten the Arabs with a simple ultimatum. Stop the violence, or we will stop you. Instead, they placate the Arabs and demand more from the Israeli side. We are to understand. Understand what?

Well, explains Kerry – we need to compensate the Arabs who have suffered? WHY have they suffered? Because THEY chose war. THEY rejected the Palestinian state they were offered in 1947. In greed, they lost. Again. And again. And again. They attacked us and WE are to compensate them? No mention of the 800,000 Jews expelled from Arab lands, their possessions stolen from them. No mention of the compensation do to thousands of terror victims whose lives were irrevocably changed because men like John Kerry were too self-absorbed to realize they were pressuring the side that actually agreed to make peace.

Without doubt, the best example of John Kerry’s knowledge of the Israel-Palestinian conflict came towards the end of his self-serving, rambling and disconnected speech. He spoke of significant milestones. The first, explained John Kerry, occurred exactly 120 years ago when the 1st Zionist Congress convened. Kerry said their goal was to create a state in the historic home of the Jewish people, “where ties went back centuries.”

Centuries?

The Jewish connection to the land of Israel dates back over 3,000 years. To attempt to rewrite that as mere “centuries” epitomizes the failure of John Kerry and Barack Obama. The reason that John Kerry failed to MAKE peace was because it was never his to make.

Defeated before he even began, he might still have discovered a way to leave a lasting impression. Sadly, his ego got in the way.

Almost three years ago, I wrote this article – Greater Men Have Tried. It is as true today, as it was when it was written. John Kerry failed. There is no peace.

And Israel is not to blame. All these wonderful ideas that he thinks he came up with – Israel has tried. We have offered unilateral moves, we have offered land. We have paid for peace with our lives and with our blood and with our fathers and mothers. We have paid for it with our children.

I have had three sons stand on the borders of Israel, protecting, guarding, risking their lives. In two weeks, Davidi goes back after a wonderful few weeks break. No one has tried harder, fought harder for peace than Israel.
I watched Kerry repeat himself – he needs a new speech writer. I listened to him ramble and lie. Israel has not had a friend in the White House for eight years. Quietly in the last few weeks I have listened to Donald Trump. I long for January 20th and only wonder what more damage John Kerry and Barack and Obama will do before they finally leave.

dt-twitter

Paula Stern

13 Soldiers Killed in Terror attack in Central Turkey

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

Thirteen soldiers were killed and 56 others wounded when a suicide car-bomb hit a bus in central Kayseri province on Saturday, Anadolu reported, citing Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu. Twelve victims are in intensive care, four remain in critical condition

Turkey’s Supreme Board of Radio and Television imposed a temporary ban on media coverage of the Kayseri blast, which includes a live broadcast from the scene, footage taken from the time of the blast and afterwards, and images of bodies.

According to Soylu, seven suspects have been detained in connection with the attack, as security forces are searching for five others.

According to an earlier statement issued by the Turkish General Staff, the suicide car targeted a public bus carrying off-duty troops near Erciyes University campus at 8:45 AM.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu condemned the terror attack on his Twitter account, offering his condolences to the families of the victims and wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

Chief of the General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar told Anadolu Agency that “the Turkish army is determined to combat terrorists until the last terrorist is neutralized.”

Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak compared the incident to the Dec.10 twin bombings in Istanbul, which killed 44 people, including several police officers.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, phoned the prime minister and offered his condolences over the attack.

David Israel

A Soldier’s Father and His Smartphone

Monday, December 12th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s eponymous website}

It was the middle of the day when the WhatsApp arrived, accompanied by that familiar ring which indicates that someone, somewhere, has sent you a message.

In our eventful everyday existence, that charming little “ding” often serves as a form of soothing background music, one whose chime seems to fade in and out of our consciousness from morning till evening, reminding us that we are never truly alone or isolated.

But as the father of an IDF soldier, even the little sounds that emanate from a smartphone seem to take on a slightly more amplified meaning. After all, when your son is serving in an elite combat unit, undergoing rigorous physical training, and handling weapons that most of us see only when playing a video game on the Xbox, there is always that gnawing concern buried somewhere deep in your head that everything hopefully is, and will be, okay.

Hence, I find myself more attentive to the iPhone’s little hums and reverberations than I normally would, ever vigilant in checking to see who the sender of the message might be.

As much as I detest the manner in which people now commonly use their devices during meetings, posting to Facebook rather than engaging in conversation, or staring down at the screen as though entranced by a hypnotist’s glare, I cannot help but sneak a quick peak. What if it is my son the soldier who has contacted me? The other day, the message was indeed from him. I quickly opened it, as I always do, immediately relieved to see that he was fine and in good spirits. But unlike previous communications, this one included a special little bonus: a photograph of my son, taken by his friend, that is one of the most vivid and moving images I think I have ever seen.

There he was, in silhouette, sitting alone in his uniform on top of a mountain, wrapped in his tefillin and reading from a prayerbook, while the sun rose in the distance, bursting forth into the sky.

I was stunned into silence, drawn by the intensity of the image, which overwhelmed me with that incomparable mixture of pride, joy and delight that is best summed up by the familiar Yiddish word, “nachas.”

Here was my own flesh and blood, my first child to have been born in the Land of Israel, taking time out from his duties to beseech the Creator. You can almost feel the concentration with which he is speaking to God, huddled over in humility yet equipped with the mettle to do his religious duty, even though he is one of just a handful of observant soldiers in his unit.

We all know the power of visual storytelling, even if we don’t always give it much thought. Scenes can be etched in our minds in a manner that provides us with a far richer perception of the world, one that is incomparably superior to those produced by other senses. It is no coincidence that many words in the English language that are used to describe a new comprehension of our surroundings, such as insight and enlightenment, are words that relate to visual imagery.

But there was something about this photograph that simply seized my attention, and I couldn’t quite figure out what it was.

Then it hit me.

As I continued to gaze at the image, awestruck at my child’s faith and fortitude, I suddenly realized that what I was looking at was far more profound than a family photo. It was a glimpse of the Jewish future, a stirring and hopeful sign that the next generation is a lot less self-centered than they often get credit for being.

In many Western societies, selfies have replaced selflessness, to the point that fundamental values such as sacrifice for the greater good or serving a cause that is larger than one’s self seem to have become as popular nowadays as typewriters, rotary dial phones and VHS video recorders.

But before we allow cynicism to drown us in despondency, we would do well to consider what that little photo on WhatsApp so starkly showed us. Each day across Israel, there are thousands of young Jewish men and women who rise early, don drab olive green attire, and devote some of the best years of their lives to guarding our Land and thwarting our foes.

Whether they undertake dangerous missions or serve as desk jockeys in a run-down military facility is beside the point.

For two or three years, they are giving of themselves, serving the country, protecting the Jewish people and doing their part to shoulder the collective burden.

Sure, they complain when they come home for the weekend, falling exhausted into bed after (and sometimes even before) taking a hot shower to clean off layers of muck. And most of them would of course prefer to be sitting on an idyllic green lawn at university, debating great ideas while also checking out members of the opposite sex.

But the bottom line is that a large majority of Israeli youth, ranging from religious to secular, still do their duty, serving in a Jewish army that our ancestors could only dream of.

Days later, I continue to be thankful for that WhatsApp photo, and the message that it contained, because it leaves me brimming with optimism that even in an age when people are seemingly growing more self-absorbed, the valor and patriotic spirit needed to keep this country secure is alive and well. And I pray that the Guardian of Israel will keep each and every one of our soldiers safe, just as they do for us.

Michael Freund

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/guest-blog/a-soldiers-father-and-his-smartphone/2016/12/12/

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