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一个“家庭”的战争  

2006-08-13 01:55:35|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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国内的媒体很少刊登和转载以色列人一边对战争的态度。这是一篇令人感动的文章,作者是从美国移民到以色列的犹太人。文章发表在《今日美国》
 
A 'family' at war
Posted 8/9/2006 9:51 PM ET E-mail | Save | Print | Subscribe tostories like this  
By Jon Medved
JERUSALEM — Sgt. Michael Levin's funeral here in Jerusalem shouldhave been a small affair. He had immigrated to Israel three yearsago and had no close family here. Levin, 22, died fightingHezbollah, just shortly after he had rushed back to join his armyunit, interrupting a family visit in the USA.
He was laid to rest here with full military honors and hundreds ofmourners paying him final respects, though most of them never knewhim. They were there because Levin was indeed part of a largerfamily — the Israeli family.
Even in the still quiet ofJerusalem, it's hard to escape the constant reminders of Israel'sgrowing losses in this war. The faces and names of the fallensoldiers and civilians are seen non-stop — on TV, in newspapers,even on the entrance to the elevator in my office building. For meand my countrymen, these are not anonymous statistics or stories ofdistant unfortunates. They are family. Despite this country'sreputed tough exterior and determination, the Israeli family ishurting.
This is already Israel's seventhwar in less than six decades of independence, and our newsacrifices take their place alongside those of previousgenerations.
Directly in front of my seat inour small neighborhood synagogue is a plaque commemorating twolocal boys who fell in the Yom Kippur War of 1973. When readingPsalms and other prayers for the soldiers fighting yet again on theLebanese front lines, one can't help but stare at it and think ofthe sacrifice that Israelis have had to make in every generation.It's the constantly updated price for our freedom.
Because I never served in theIsraeli Defense Forces (IDF) — I was too old when I arrived herefrom California — I have been susceptible to the feeling thatsomehow I was less connected to this primal, most basic Israeliexperience of shared combat. (Military service is a requirement inIsrael for men and women 18 and older.)
I was always envious of myimmigrant friends who did manage to get real army experience; theyhad somehow entered a state of "Israeliness" that would foreverelude me.
My city, the frontlines
This feeling changed during theintifadabattles from 2000 to 2004, when the front lines weresuddenly on the streets of Jerusalem. Israeli civilians played anunfortunate, and major, role in that conflict; it granted combatantstatus on everyone who sent their kids to school on a bus or hadbreakfast at a café.
With Israel's second Lebanese warapproaching the end of its first month, I no longer feel like a newimmigrant. Many thousands of Israeli homes have been damaged bymissiles as the deaths and casualties continue to mount. Thevulnerability is ever-present.
While it may seem strange to feelat war while living in the eerily peaceful atmosphere of Jerusalem,just a 90-minute drive from battle-scarred northern Israel, all ittakes is a quick glance around our synagogue to know that, yes, ourfamilies are fighting for their very lives. With so many of oursons and daughters in the thick of the fight, this war is ourwar.
In front of me, Bob Rosenschein'stwo boys are missing from their regular seats and are sittinginstead inside tanks. Steve Zerobnick's son is a commando, AsherOstrin's son is in field intelligence, David Arnowitz's daughter istraining soldiers, Yaron Shor's boy is in the air force, MeirFachler's son just started basic training, and Howie Kahn's son Elihas emerged as one of this war's first heroes, retrieving an enemygrenade and throwing it back to kill two Hezbollahterrorists.
Perhaps I am more affected by allof this because I am the father of three teenage boys and one girl.My oldest son, Momo, 19, will be inducted into the IDF next week.My second son, Yossi, 17, just got his first call-up notice, and myson Itamar, 15, will not be far behind.
Why we fight
Herein lies a great secret of whywe fight, why we have gone to war after the kidnappings of threeIsraeli soldiers. Why 90-plus% of the Israeli public backs thiswar. Because our army is our kids, and Jewish kids will not bekidnapped and slaughtered ever again without there being hell topay. Because we will no longer sit idly while our enemies openlycall for our destruction and amass the means to carry out theirthreats. Because we refuse to accept as normal a life where we mustbe afraid of a missile landing on our porch while we drink ourmorning coffee. Because this war is not being fought overterritory, but our right to exist. It is for this that we fight thewar critics call "disproportionate."
The recent fast of the 9th of Av— a religious day of mourning to commemorate the tragedies thathave befallen the Jewish people — fell on the same day Sgt.Michael Levin was buried. Sitting in the moonlight on a hill acrossfrom the Temple Mount, hundreds of our neighbors and friends readtogether the frightening verses in the Book of Lamentations aboutgenerations of suffering. Yet a quiet determination was palpableamong the mourners — a feeling that this war, our war, willultimately be won, that redemption is finally on the way, and thatour Israeli family will prevail.
Jon Medved lives with his wifeJane and four children in Jerusalem and is CEO of Vringo, a mobilecontent and community start-up.
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