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A Parent’s Pride and Fear: My Three IDF Reservists

Being an Israeli soldier is a lot easier than being the parent of one, or more.

by
Michael Widlanski

Bio

November 20, 2012 - 12:00 am
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Well, we in Israel are not dead. We feel very much alive and we do not need the has-beens and never-was-es of Israeli politics like Shaul Mofaz, Tzipi Livni, etc. of the moribund Kadima Party trying to recapture a moment of air time with the hapless media hype types.

So far we have been very lucky, partly due to the careful strategic planning of the army and of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, but also due to the terrific performance of the new anti-rocket system known as “Iron Dome” which has hit over 90% of the incoming rockets headed for populated areas. The system is designed to ignore rockets that are headed to empty fields, because each “Iron Dome” projectile costs about $40,000.

And yet, there have been three deaths and more than a dozen major injuries. The people in Kiryat Malachi, south of Tel Aviv, were taken by surprise because they had never been targeted before. Three people died. Several infants were injured. Do you think their parents will be interviewed on CNN or BBC? I doubt it.

There is a pretty good chance we will have to do some ground operations in Gaza, because you cannot defeat terror only by air strikes. The first part of the war was about decapitating the Hamas terror leadership and hurting their long-range rocket capability. But our real strength is the people in Sderot and nearby towns, who have been attacked for more than a decade. We should salute them. And now we owe them. We owe it to them to remove the threat. We are doing a good job, and we hope God will help us.

Like other Israelis, Sara and I are long-time observers of the Arab scene, especially the Arab terrorist scene. We are under no illusions that mediation by Egyptian, EU, Turkish, or American officials will convince Hamas and jihad fanatics that we are not “the sons of monkeys and pigs” — as one Hamas official said again, yesterday.

When EU mouthpiece Catherine Ashton speaks of a need for a “proportional” Israeli response, we realize we are dealing with someone who does not have a clue about warfare, strategy, or justice. The police do not use “proportional force” when fighting murderers, and Hamas jihadis want to murder an entire society.

Another leader who does not understand this is President Barack Obama, who says he supports Israel defending itself — as long as it does not really fight too hard.

At times like this, most Israelis know we have to protect ourselves, and no one else will do it for us. Our problem is that we are also parents.

We really wish it did not have to be our children going into battle.

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Dr. Michael Widlanski is the author of Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat. He is a former reporter, correspondent, and editor respectively at the New York Times, Cox Newspapers, and the Jerusalem Post. He was Strategic Affairs Advisor in Israel's Ministry of Public Security, and now teaches at Bar Ilan University.
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