Photo Credit: courtesy

I sometimes tell my children that I’m old. I don’t feel old, most of the time. My children are all grown. Three are married and have children of their own. In a few months, God willing, the oldest of them will reach the age of bar mitzvah.

When my youngest was 7, my oldest son was about to go into the army. It was all new and terrifying. It took me months to understand all the energy I had wasted in being terrified when, in fact, the most terrifying part was yet to come.


Towards the end of his second year in the army, he was called to war. They called it Operation Cast Lead and I scoffed arrogantly because even if they didn’t call it a war, I’d heard the explosions and I knew that was the sound of war.

Eli finished his army service a month before Shmuli began his. Many parents of soldiers don’t have the luxury of being spared the fear of two or more soldiers in at the same time. It was only years later, after Shmuli had finished that Eli was called into miluim (reserve duty) at the same time David was serving.

I never got a picture of all three of them, never mind all five, adding in Yaakov and Chaim…just two. Both staring at me with the same impatient and somewhat amused face…both with their blue eyes that only they have in the entire extended family.

Elie was called in to Ammud Anan (Operation Pillar of Fire), his second war…and two more operations in a shifted role within the army.

And then came October 7, when suddenly, they were all called in and I learned two things. Parents who have more than one son or daughter in the army at any given time deserve a medal and worldwide recognition; and Israel was right. All the other “wars” were really indeed “only’ Operations.

On October 7, Israel woke to a new reality, one that it will never recover from. We’ll move forward, but never passed that day. It was the first time most living Israelis experienced war. The last war we fought was the Yom Kippur War when then, as now, we were attacked on a holy day by an enemy that shows no mercy, no humanity.

Shmuli and Chaim were called in to the home front defenses. Elie somewhere in between, and Yaakov and David as far into this war as anyone can get. I’d walked away from this blog and somewhere in the early days I learned something else.

Just as my sons cannot walk away from the training and the obligation to defend this land, I’ll never really be free from being a soldier’s mother. I’ve learned that as they must defend, I too must speak.

If you don’t live in Israel, you have almost no idea of what is happening. If you support Israel, you probably think you know but if you are relying on CNN, BBC, NBC, ABC and any other news station, they aren’t telling you. Did you hear we were hit today by dozens of rockets from the north? Did you hear about the tunnel they found today – one that is over a kilometer and a half long and gives access to a manufacturing plant that produces rockets. It’s located in the heart of  residential neighborhood in Khan Yunis, near schools and homes. Did you hear?And if you are against Israel, you also have no idea of all we do to protect Palestinians from the very same barbarians that came into Israel on October 7 and massacred our people. You don’t know and I also know you don’t want to know.So what’s left? What’s left is for a woman to speak even though some might call her old, hopefully not too old, but still a mother and a grandmother whose sons still fight.So I am, as I have been since that day in March,2007, a voice. And if you’ll listen, I’ll promise to tell you the truth. Even when the truth isn’t what you want to hear.

And what is the truth – that’s easy. The truth is that Israel is the land of the Jewish people. It says so – in the Bible AND in the Koran. It was verified by the British in 1917, the United Nations in 1947. It is verified all the time in Israel. Ancient coins found buried deep in the ground and modern coins fashioned in the same likeness, with the same language.

To deny our connection to this land is an absurdity and so I will speak of the future instead. This will always be the land of the Jewish people.

And today, is one of the hardest days we’ve had ever in our land. Today we begin burying 24 sons of Israel who gave their lives for this land, whose mothers now suffer the most horrible of agonies – a lifetime without their son.

Today is a hard day to be a soldier’s mother. Today, I cried and felt broken and old for hours and hours until friends started reaching out, telling me the same advice I have given them in the past. Breathe. Just breathe. Pray for Israel. Pray for our soldiers.

That is what we ask of you. That, and remember that nothing will take us out of our land. Our soldiers are committed to finally finishing this fight. Finally, ending Hamas. It’s time they tell us and we agree.

If you agree, pray for Israel; pray for our soldiers.

And if you don’t agree, watch and listen. The lions of Judea roar and once again, our enemies tremble and run from before our lions. Thus it was 3,000 years ago. Thus it was 2,000 years ago. Thus it is today.


Previous articleUS Universities Fail Test on IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism
Next articleChilling Winds towards Israel from UK and US
Paula R. Stern is the co-founder of Retraining4Israel (, a new organization working to help olim make aliyah successful. Paula made aliyah over 30 years ago with her husband and their three children. She lives in Maale Adumim and is often referred to as “A Soldier’s Mother”. She is now a happy wife, mother of five (including two sabras), and grandmother, happily sharing her voice and opinions with others. She is also a senior tech writer and lead training instructor at WritePoint Ltd. ( Please visit her new website: