What can I do? This was the first thought that went through my mind when I woke up last Shabbat to an air raid siren and the terrible news just kept pouring in. In my IDF service, which I volunteered for as a Lone Soldier, I was a combat medic in the Givati brigade. I continued this role during many years of reserve duty (milluim). However, even though I was aged out of reserves, the old Israeli adage that, “no is never no” motivated me to return to active reserve duty in this moment of our nation’s need. I literally dusted off my combat boots and old uniform and went down to a huge IDF compound in the Negev where I had heard a rumor that they might be looking for Combat Medics, and after “only” three hours of going from unit to unit, I ultimately got myself back into the army. It took another six days of bureaucracy, but here I am with all my combat medical gear “somewhere near Gaza.”
The amazing thing is, even though I am the oldest, I was not the only one who fought to get back into the active reserves. We have more than 100% turn up for our unit! I’ve met a whole slew of folks here from many different backgrounds, who are also here after having volunteered to reenlist. This is because we all understand that this is a war against total evil. Our job here is to save as many lives of our holy heroes as we can, and that is why we are here.
Those who know me, will not be surprised by my tenacious insistence to return to active IDF service. As an educator and tour guide for many years I always share inspirational stories of those amazing men and women in the Zionist pantheon who led by example. They didn’t just “talk the talk,” but also “walked the walk.” One of the heroes I teach about, who particularly inspired me, is Hannah Szenesh. She, like me, came to the land of Israel by herself after writing in her diary at the age of 17,
One needs to have something to believe in, something which gives one’s life meaning and purpose. Zionism fulfills this for me.
Once she was in the safety of the land of Israel she selflessly volunteered to parachute into Nazi-occupied Europe. She wrote a poem about her decision. This poem was one of my inspirations to rejoin the IDF as a combat medic at this critical time for our people and our homeland. It starts. “A voice called. I went because a voice called.”