The human beneath the helmet

Every Friday, the sky above me rains down with grenades and homemade bombs attached to balloons by the very same protestors who the media makes out to be oppressed and unarmed. Bullets from snipers on the other side of the fence zip past my head. To make matters worse, it is nearly impossible for us to defend ourselves and shoot back because these cowardly terrorists send their own children to the fence, obscuring our view of them and daring us to fire. If we open fire, we run the risk of accidentally hitting them; an atrocity that no sane soldier would want to commit. If we hold fire, we send a message that their use of children as human shields works and they continue doing so. It is a win-win for them.

On an almost daily basis, the civilian communities behind me are burned with incendiary balloons, placing tens of thousands of innocent civilians in danger, destroying our beautiful flora and fauna, and scorching our agriculture.

I eventually go home for Shabbat at the end of my two weeks on duty, expecting to return to the support and applause of the people who I have been defending. Unfortunately, the reality is not quite so.

 Some of my people call me a war criminal. They accuse me of things that make some of the worst dictators in history look like saints. In the eyes of the American and European left, I am a baby-killer, a trigger-happy and bloodthirsty Zionist who wakes up in the morning filled with the excitement of a new opportunity to massacre Palestinians. I am branded as guilty of committing the very same atrocities that Adolf Hitler carried about against the Jewish people not so long ago. They say that the land I defend, the very same land that the Jewish people have had a presence in for thousands of years, is stolen. Their view of the conflict is little more than a mix of they see and hear on CNN and what JStreet and AJ+ say it should be. If only they saw with their own eyes what happens on the border, their views would be very different.

Little do they know that I am just as sick of the fighting here as they are! This conflict has gone on for almost a century too long. I pray every morning to wake up and see in the news that my Palestinian neighbors feel the same way. I did not join this army wanting to kill. We Israeli soldiers are not the mindless killing machines that the left and mainstream media make us out to be. I serve with some of the very best men and women this country has to offer, and each and every one of them holds him or herself to the highest standards of morality and integrity. It is a standard that few people on this planet could match. I hope my service goes by without having to fire a single shot outside of training. It is a damn shame that our neighbors to our north, east, and south do not share a similar vision of peace and harmony, and so long as it stays that way, our dream of peace and harmony in a region wrought with bloodshed and chaos will remain nothing more than a fantasy.

Despite everything, I remain committed to my mission because millions of Israelis depend on me to do so. No matter how unappreciative my people may be, I will never let them down, because doing so would result in the end of the state of Israel and the massacre of its inhabitants. So while the left can continue to slander me and Hamas continue to shoot at me, I will not waiver or back down. I will stand proud and carry on with my mission. I am the Israeli soldier, and I will continue to take a stand and defend my people, even if it means that I stand alone.

I am the Israeli soldier, and I will continue to take a stand and defend my people, even if it means that I stand alone.

About the Author
Benjamin Jaffe currently lives in Israel with his family and is a soldier in the Armored Corps of the Israel Defense Forces.
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