I have lost count of the comments / emails / phone calls that have assumed that now that Israel is under attack that I will be preventing my son from making Aliya in the summer. Now that a ground war is imminent, I will prohibit him from joining the IDF and I will keep him here in NY, safe and sound.
No. I will not.
Aliya and army service are not fair weather activities only. If someone is a Zionist and wishes to live in and serve their country – that does NOT change when there is a war on. If anything, I have to work hard to keep him here, rather than flying out and signing up early. We have a plan, we’ll stick to it. They started this war without him – but he will be needed when he gets there.
I am not being cavalier with his life. I am hearing story after story of the young men and women called to their units, being told they will be part of the ground incursion if there is one. I cannot imagine the fear that is in the hearts of all these parents as they send their (grown-up) children off to war. But when one is an Israeli, this is an accepted part of life. Does it make it easy? Of course not – but these soldiers were raised to do their duty.
Israel exists today because of the brave men and women of the IDF – those who gave their lives and those who fought in all our wars. I am proud of every single one of them. When my son has joined up, I will be proud of him for that too.
I am proud that my boy has that fire in him, that burning desire to live amongst his people, to serve his country. I wish I had had it at his age. I do now – but life has got in the way of my aliya. It will happen. But not now.
Of course, I hope and pray that the current conflict is well and truly over by the time my son arrives – I pray it ends this week, but I continue to pray for the safety of everyone in Israel.