Tuvia Book
Author, educator, Tour-Guide, artist

Heroes in Olive Green

There is a fire against us. And in the end, the fire could burn us, or ignite us into an unstoppable force. (Azizi)

For over a month I have been privileged to be serving in a very special IDF unit consisting of physicians, paramedics, combat medics and combat troops.  Every single person in my unit is a volunteer as it is a reserve unit. Our mission is to provide rapid medical response, stabilization and evacuation for our soldiers, our heroes. Everyone in my unit has come selflessly and voluntarily from all over Israel and indeed, all over the globe.  They come from all levels of society, with various religious, and political beliefs. We are united by the desire to provide the best possible medical services to our brothers and sisters in uniform and sometimes, unfortunately, to provide the respect and honor for our fallen heroes on their final journey. Freedom is not free. As Bruce Mbanzabugabo observed:

Nobody was born hero and no one can inherit heroism; but you become a hero when your whole life has been a sacrifice for others.

Soldiers in my unit medvacing a seriously wounded soldier. Photo (c) T. Book, 2023

There are many heroes of this war, ranging from the scarred survivors of terrorist attacks to the families of those kidnapped victims, who are unceasing in their call for the release of all the innocents, to those men and women keeping the home front strong, to all the volunteers, and those stepping up to the plate with words and, most importantly, actions both here and abroad during these difficult times.

“Hero” has become an overused word. A football player who scores a goal to win the game is called a hero. But a true hero is someone who puts his or her life at risk, to save others. The wounded soldiers my unit medvac to safety are perhaps the ultimate definition of heroism.  They are, to a person, the most unselfish people I have ever had the honor to interact with.  The first question of any wounded soldier we treat, no matter how bad the injury, is invariably, “when can I return to my unit?”  Everyone wants to return to their family in uniform, finish the job to destroy the evil forces who sowed terror and death upon Israel on the “Black Saturday” of October 7, and to make sure that “never again” means just that, NEVER AGAIN!

Wounded warrior hero on the way to a rear line hospital on an IDF ambulance on the phone to his father with the the first two words being “Ani Beseder” (I am OK). Photo (c) T. Book, 2023
About the Author
Dr. Tuvia Book was born in London and raised in both the UK and South Africa. After making Aliya at the age of 17 and studying in Yeshiva he volunteered for the IDF, where he served in an elite combat unit. Upon his discharge he completed his BA at Bar-Ilan University, as well as certification in graphic design. He then served as the Information Officer at the Israeli Consulate of Philadelphia, while earning a graduate degree in Jewish Studies. Upon his return to Israel, Dr. Book graduated from a course of study with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, and is a licensed tour guide. Tuvia has been working in the field of Jewish Education, both formal and informal, for many years. He has guided and taught Jewish students and educators from around the English-speaking world for some of Israel’s premier educational institutions and programs. Tuvia has been guiding groups for Birthright Israel since its inception and, in addition, has lectured throughout North America, Australia, Europe and South Africa. Tuvia served as a Shaliach (emissary) for the Jewish Agency for Israel as the Director of Israel and Zionist Education at the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York (Jewish Education Project). He was a lecturer/educational guide at the Alexander Muss Institute for Israel Education (AMIIE) in Israel for a decade. Tuvia has lectured at both Bar Ilan University and Hebrew University. He was a Senior Editor and Teaching Fellow at the Tikvah Fund. He is a research associate at the Hudson Institute. Tuvia is the author and illustrator the internationally acclaimed Israel education curriculum; "For the Sake of Zion; A Curriculum of Israel Studies" (Fifth edition, Koren 2017), and "Moral Dilemmas of the Modern Israeli Soldier" (Rama, 2011) and has a doctorate in Israel Education. His latest book, "Jewish Journeys, The Second Temple Period to the Bar Kokhba Revolt – 536 BCE-136 CE," was published by Koren this year. To order:
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