(Names have been deleted at the request of the family)
Following are the remarks delivered at a community rally in support of Israel.
I’m the mother of a Lone Soldier. The bravest man I know. He’ll be celebrating his 21st birthday next week.
Three years ago he was actively sabotaging his college admissions process. Not the normal kind of slacking off you’d expect from a high school senior – we found out from his guidance councilor that he was doing things that would have kept him from getting into college. He told us that he didn’t want to go right away and that he needed to join the Israeli Army.
He first told us when he was a sophomore in High School, and then again during the summer after his junior year. But I didn’t listen. The follwing year, he participated in the March of the Living travelling to Poland and Israel. Many days, he spent visiting the death camps. Outside Auschwitz, he called me to say that he’d made a promise to G-d. Standing in one of the gas chambers, he vowed that he would do whatever it takes to make sure nothing like this would ever happen again.
The Fall came and so did school. I didn’t have time to think a lot about that conversation—yet it was always in the back of my mind. Until the day we got the call from the guidance counselor. My husband and I realized we had to take him seriously. Our son agreed to apply to college, as a back up plan in case things changed with his Army plan. We were hoping that the excitement of campus weekends and his friends getting into schools would make him change his mind.
The day he got his college acceptance letter, he came to us and said, “OK….I got in, now let’s talk about the Israeli Army.”
Well, I was in Israel this past June to watch him and hundreds of other Paratroopers receive their red berets and wings as they finished their training. I was so proud.
If you’d told me that six weeks later my 20 year old kid would be in a war, going house-to-house in Gaza spending every waking hour searching for – and finding – entrances to terrorist’s tunnels, avoiding booby traps, sleeping in abandoned buildings at night, I never would have believed it. But for the past few weeks, that was his reality as a soldier, and mine as a mother.
Yesterday he returned to his kibbutz and I spoke with him this morning. He reaffirmed his commitment to Israel and his choice of making aliyah. The Galilee he said, “is the most beautiful place on earth, why would I ever leave?”
He is truly very courageous, and he believed that by joining the IDF he would become part of something much greater than himself, something that transcends just this moment in time. And he’s right. He’s idealistic – in a way that only 20 year olds can be.
He’s joined by thousands of other Lone Soldiers and tens of thousands of Israeli kids just as brave and idealistic as he is –kids who have willingly put themselves into harms way for us and putting Klal Yisroel above all else. Not for $240 a month in salary. Not just to defend a small country far away from Boston. For us, the Jewish people.
At age 18, when our son was standing in that death camp and made that vow, he knew that the Israeli Army IS the Jewish Army. And the future of the State of Israel IS the future of all Jews. There is no distance. There is no separation.
The fight of the Jewish people and all those who respect Democracy and Freedom will continue, until the people of Israel are permanently safe and secure from radical Islamic threat and terror.