On Holocaust Day we remember the greatest tragedy in Jewish History and the frustration of not having had our own country with an Airforce, Navy and Infantry to protect our people. Today, on our Memorial Day for the soldiers, I remember the fallen from my own paratrooper’s unit, during my mandatory IDF service,  when you could count the number of lone soldiers on one hand.

Lt. Avida Shor of Kibbutz Shoval, who fell  in action in Beirut while attacking terrorist leaders in April 1973 during Operation “Spring of our youth”.  Firm and tough, I will never forget his soft spoken questions to me during guard duty asking where to go for his studies, since I was the only “elder” with academic experience in the unit.  During the day, there was a “distance”. At night when nobody was looking, there was intellectual curiosity.

Unfortunately, Sergeant Haggai Maayan of Kibbutz Magen was also killed in that same raid.  He was from the “older” group, and I remember him as a tall, very good looking youngster, member of the Israeli National Youth Volleyball Team. When we had just joined the unit we looked up to folks with his profile.

Sergeant Yoav Sened, of Kibbutz Revivim, son of Alexander and Yona Sened, famous Israeli writers, was killed during an accident at the Sea of Galilee. I will never forget being on the honor guard in the kibbutz and the sadness which enveloped the kibbutz. He was also from the older generation in the unit and a very classy kind of guy. This very suave and handsome youngster was the coolest guy I remember in the unit.

Lastly, there was Sergeant Yaakov Karsh who was killed in a terrorist ambush on the Lebanese border in 1975. He was from the younger generation. Burly, red headed, sensitive and lovely youngster from Kibbutz Alonim. I had a soft spot in my heart for this youngster who had superb interpersonal skills, was an idealist, and a lovely young man.

Today their faces are on my mind. I wonder how they would all look today, more than 4 decades later.

My heart is heavy.

It’s a sad day.