Hila Bar
Writer, translator, editor

The Heroes of Swords of Iron


Imagine a man (or woman) standing head and shoulders above the rest. They have worked hard and raised themselves up the ladder of life. They have established beneficial connections, a sterling reputation, and earned widespread standing. They deserve to be head and shoulders above the rest.

Now imagine this man being held up by three or four people, with those people being held up by a few more. Do you get the picture? Right at the bottom there may be dozens of people holding up a whole pyramid of people, all of whom do excellent work. But if one of those people on the ground let go, the arrangement becomes a bit lopsided, diminishing its function slightly, so that it works less effectively, perhaps not as quickly.

A week or two ago, an artist had an idea for a project and was looking for suggestions of people who are currently doing a lot of good in Israel. The responses were tired, repetitive, unoriginal. They were names of people we hear of time and time again. I was rather disappointed. I would have thought to suggest individuals on the ground who are giving of themselves, not that the man at the top does not work on the ground – he certainly does – but for once let us celebrate the tireless people who give with their hearts in the small places; those who are working without pay for the greater good, to keep this country together.

There are many exceptional individuals without whom a precious part of this country would be sorely lacking.

To Keren, Avi, Dani, Udi, and so many others who stand guard throughout the day and night ensuring the safety of my community.

To Hanan who supplies free coffee to the security team.

To Chevy who singlehandedly organized the purchase of army supplies in the US.

To Yishai who stood packing vegetables after harvest.

To Ilana who organized a group purchase of flowers and plants from the south.

To Ayelet and Daniel who stood making sandwiches for soldiers.

To Roni who provides free physiotherapy to evacuees.

To Hila (not me) who has been packing supplies for army bases.

To Einat who has donated items to evacuees.

To Aviram who is in charge of evacuees in one of the nearby communities.

The list goes on.

At this time, so many people have been and still are giving of their time and their hearts to drive and deliver, to host evacuees, to foster pets, to hold activities for children and adults, to offer counselling, to cook, to move furniture for evacuees, to provide company for the elderly who live alone, to fill in as supermarket workers and hospital cleaners, to offer legal assistance, to serve on their city’s citizen patrol, to offer free services in the myriad fields of their work (massage, music, art, education, and countless more), to be a listening ear to their friends, to write and spread hasbara, to attend funerals and shiva houses, to boost our morale with banners, flags, and stickers.

To the mothers and fathers who stay home taking care of their children.

To those for whom the most they can do is get up in the morning and perhaps flash a smile in an effort to make the world that much brighter.

You are doing your best and that is all that counts.

I applaud you all.

You are the heroes who keep our country going.

About the Author
Hila Bar is known for her penetrating commentary on people and society, as well as her deep, insightful poetry and prose. She studied English and Hebrew language and literature at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and works as a translator and editor. Hila made Aliyah in 1996 and currently resides in Srigim, in the Ela Valley region of Israel. Hila can be reached through Facebook or via email -
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