On my very first Yom HaAtzmaut in Israel I was standing in front of our house with Fred and Lelo and we were waiting for the new F-35s. Since we were on a kibbutz in the Arava — we are still there — in the middle of nowhere — we had to pay extra attention. It’s not the area where pilots do extra tricks for the amusement of the 150 kibbutzniks down there. So, we turned our eyes upon the sky.
And we were waiting. And waiting. And waiting.
And then, out of the clear blue sky the F-35s came…
..flew over us…
… and were gone.
And for three seconds, my sons and I were very, very, very proud to be the new citizens of this tiny, tough country.
For three seconds, we felt safe. Even in the middle of nowhere. Because we saw with our own eyes the protective wings of our F-35s.
I made aliyah from a country, Hungary, that has not won a war in the last 500 years.
Being proud for my country’s armed forces is a perfectly new experience for me.
So, I ran into the house and googled F-35. To get information about the new pearls of our air force.
And I found that Israel had five F-35s at that moment — which was nice — and planned to buy 75 more — which was pretty impressive!!!
And than I saw the numbers of other countries.
Australia’s armed forces planned to buy 100 F-35s, Denmark’s 27, Italy’s 90, Japan’s 42, Netherlands’s 37, Norway’s 52, South Korea’s 60, Turkey’s 120, the UK’s 138… and the US’s…
Two thousand, four-hundred and forty-four.
Maybe I am the only one who felt like throwing up while reading these numbers. But I did feel like that.
These fine countries plan to buy 3,189 F-35s all together in the coming years.
41 million, 457 thousand kilogram of killing machines.
And this is only ONE WEAPON.
And this is only on the FINE SIDE.
And there are thousands of other types of weapons.
On all of the sides.
Zillions of tons of iron built for one reason:
To kill human beings.
To kill sons and daughters of mothers and fathers.
To kill souls.
I’m aware that we have enemies.
And among our enemies there are some who are really not fine. In any measure.
And they just want to kill.
And we have to defend ourselves.
But even so —
When four days ago, I read in the news that Israel would buy 17 new F-35s, Rodrigo’s and Gabriel’s last debate came to my mind. Robert De Niro played Rodrigo and Jeremy Irons played Gabriel in Roland Joffe’s 1984 movie, The Mission.
Rodrigo and Gabriel are two Jesuits fighting for the souls of South American Indians in the 18th century. When the joint Portuguese and Spanish force comes to kill the Indians in the Jesuit mission in Paraguayan jungle, Rodrigo and Gabriel have to decide what to do.
For Rodrigo, it’s OK to kill Portuguese and Spanish soldiers to protect the Indians.
For Gabriel, it’s not OK to kill. Period.
When Rodrigo asks for Gabriel’s blessing before going to war against the Portuguese and Spanish, Gabriel answers:
“If you’re right, you’ll have God’s blessing. If you’re wrong, my blessing won’t mean anything… If might is right, then love has no place in this world… It may be so…. But I don’t have the strength to live in a world like that…”