Saturday, July 29, 2006

An Israeli Mother Copes with Soldier-Son at War

An Israeli Mother Copes with Soldier-Son at War

Elizabeth Levy
Special to the Jewish Journal-North Boston, July 28 2006
[Elizabeth is Dov Levy's daughter]

Elizabeth Levy After almost 25 years living in Israel, this is the first war in which not only do I have a son in the army but also most of the soldiers are my son's age, my son's friends and schoolmates, the sons of my friends.

My son graduated from tank training school in the first days of the war and was home on scheduled leave for the first week. Still, I am just as nervous and anxious about those other kids who are out there on the front lines. I feel that same pain in my stomach, the same fear about watching the news. And yet, I am unable to turn it off. Every time they announce another soldier wounded or killed, it tears me apart. Mickey is now back at his base ready to do what the army asks.

This morning, I drove my daughter, Jenny, into Jerusalem to the army office for her first call up. (Jenny begins her senior year in high school in the fall and during that year all Israeli kids have periodic pre-army service briefings and events.) Driving home, I noticed a huge sign that someone had hand painted and hung near the bus stop leaving town. The sign read, "Soldier, Thank you for protecting us." I cried.

Perhaps the way that the country pulls together during times like these is also making me mushy. Everyone is taking in families from the north. Everyone is making packages to send to soldiers and to kids in bomb shelters. Everyone is donating, volunteering, supporting and pulling together.

Many books have been written about the Israeli soldier during our many wars. Now I see it very personally, very close up, when these wonderful young men and women express pride for their part in the struggle to protect the country. Their camaraderie and their dedication to one another is amazing.

I am blown away by their desire to be on the front lines doing anything and everything that they can. On one hand, they're out of their minds, young and innocent, still naive enough to consider themselves invincible.

On the other hand, they feel so strongly about their country. Even more, they feel so close to their friends that they can't bear the thought of not being together in times like these.

It's as if we finally see that the education we worked so hard to give them — at home, in school, in scouts — has really sunk in. These are really good people.

Mickey told me that they don't think about getting hurt. They don't think about dying. They don't think about the fear or danger. (I always say, that's why they take 18 year-olds, before they start thinking!) They just want to do what they have to do. And not in the sense of doing it to get it over with. They do it because they believe in it.

I'm back to answering the emails that have piled up during the week. I have had so many letters of support that I haven't been able to keep up with answering them all. Still, I never tire of reading them although they all say the same thing. For a change, it's nice to know that most of the world is behind us. It's nice to know that people are thinking of us.

Elizabeth Levy is director of development for the Israel Council for the Child. She may be contacted at ealevy@children.org.il.

4 Comments:

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At 4:19 AM, Anonymous Gilles @ Israel said...

Israel is such a small country but there're so many wars there. And there seems to be no end to them.

 

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