Friday, August 25, 2006

Find Me a Title

Wrote this piece a while back, but have never been able to find a suitable title for it! So, if ya like, suggest a title and the 'winner' shall have the honor of having his title on my poem!

Motta* screamed, "Jerusalem is ours."
And so, two lonely halves reunited
After years of forced separation, 6 days forever sealed her future
Her bullet riddled walls eagerly narrate her story ...
A story of restoration
A story of faith & power
A story of endurance & perseverence.
And while Naomi** is no longer here to sing her inspiring words
Jerusalem of Gold will forever serenade the undivided birthright of our people
Through the tough days, through the good days
She'll stand with us as we continue developing the dream
To be a free people on our land

* Motta Gur commanded the paratrooper forces that conquered Jerusalem in 1967. He has the honor of announcing that Jerusalem was finally ours
** Naomi Shemer, one of Israel's greatest song writers (wrote Jerusalem of Gold) passed away last year

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Definition of a Hero defines 'Hero' as:

1. In mythology and legend, a man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits, and favored by the gods.
2. A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life: soldiers and nurses who were heroes in an unpopular war.

Due to the events of the last week, I could simply define the word as Lieutenant Colonel Ro'ee Klein z"l. The story, which I very much doubt has even reached the media outside of Israel, is one that should be recounted with extreme pride, astonishment and tears of respect. The deputy battalion commander in the 51st Golani infantry battalion lost his life in a way that perhaps only Hollywood could script. In the fierce close quarter fighting in Bint Jbeil, Klein (the most senior soldier in the battle) noticed a grenade thrown at his forces. Realizing there was not enough time to get his soldiers to cover, Klein covered the grenade with his body, taking the brunt of the explosion. Survivors from the battle that claimed 9 soldiers' lives, including Klein's, all recount him screaming 'Hear O' Israel' (Shema Yisrael) as he jumped on the grenade. A hero in every sense of the word. Buried on his 31st birthday, his widow's only wish was that her 2 sons grow up to be similar to their departed father.

This is just one of the many stories of extreme bravery our soldiers have displayed over the past month. In the heat of battle, where split second decisions will often dictate who lives and who dies, Klein's incredible bravery and love for his soldiers dictated that he would return wrapped up in an Israeli flag. May his memory be blessed.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

In tough times ...

Remember the famous words of Ein Li Eretz Acheret (I have no Other Land):

I have no other country
even if my land is aflame
Just a word in Hebrew
pierces my veins and my soul -
With a painful body, with a hungry heart,
Here is my home.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Musings from a Land at War

During the last two weeks of fighting up North, Staff Sergeant Yonatan Vlasyuk (Ukraine), Sergeant Assaf Namer (Australia) and Staff Sergeant Michael Levin (USA) have all been killed while fighting Hezbollah terrorists. All three boys, despite being from different countries, had one thing in common. They were all chayalim bodedim, soldiers serving in the IDF while their families were living abroad. When one makes Aliyah (immigrates to Israel), it oftentimes ensures that he sacrifice the comfort of his family and home; joining the IDF (and especially the upper echelons of our infantry brigades like these boys did) on the other hand is a declaration that one is willing to sacrifice oneself for his beliefs and love of Israel. The embodiment of Zionism has always been the readiness to do all for the Jewish State - and sadly, these boys paid the ultimate price for their love of Israel ... May Hashem bless their memories ...

Since I started following Liverpool, my dream was to always watch them live. While I've managed to watch some of the giants of the game (AC Milan, Real Madrid & AS Roma), getting to see Liverpool has somehow always eluded me. Which brings me to last Friday ... The draw for the 3rd round of the Champions League qualifiers: Liverpool and the reigning Israeli champions, Maccabi Haifa, were paired up. Obviously I was ecstatic; my first 'real' chance (I could have made my way to Istanbul to watch the classic final in 2005 - but missed the last package by a few minutes) to watch a team I've been following since the mid 80s. However, due to the current situation, Liverpool have pushed hard to have the fixture moved away from Israel. Sadly, I cannot see the tickets I've reserved through my friend being used. A real shame ...

Last but not least, I cannot understand what on earth led Ehud Olmert to say what he said two days ago. The prime minister of Israel, during one of his speeches, declared:
"I'll surprise you, I genuinely believe the outcome of the present [conflict] and the emergence of a new order that will provide more stability and will defeat the forces of terror will help create the necessary environment that will allow me ... to create a new momentum between us and the Palestinians."

It seems quite clear to me that this war has become more of a 'political' tool for Olmert to push his realignment plan, a plan that will lead to the expulsion of 200,000 Jews from the 'West Bank'. Dear me, what was Olmert thinking? For the first time since Operation Defensive Shield (April 2002), the country is practically united (except the usual nuts on the fringes of the Left and the majority of Israel's Arabs). We have Bibi Netanyahu, the opposition speaker in the Knesset (Parliament), standing by Olmert even as world pressure begins to drastically increase. Our soldiers' motivation hasn't been this high in years (Countless of stories about injured soldiers 'sneaking out' of hospitals to return to their units and continue the fight) and the country as a whole is behind them. Why jeopardize that? Why create cracks in a united front? To put it bluntly, these idiotic comments are perhaps the first bits of evidence at why this war has been handled so poorly, being totally monopolized by two clueless politicians (Olmert and Amir Peretz, the Defense Minister) to further goals that will only strain our country's shaky internal unity.