My wife and I, just one week shy of our 39th wedding anniversary, escorted our daughter to the museum of Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, the site of a fierce battle between Israeli and Jordanian soldiers in the Six Day War of 1967. It was there that she would begin her stint to serve her country, being our third child to serve in the Israeli Army after our two sons, and after five girls who did national volunteer service.

Our daughter is nineteen, starting her army service one year and a half after graduating high school, having spent the time, deepening her understanding of Jewish studies, law, ethics and philosophy in a post-high school seminary for girls and afterwards a few months working.

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Parents and whole families came to the museum to escort their dear ones to the army. When all the soon-to-be new soldiers gather and enter the museum – the families drift away and the inductees are taken by bus to the induction center on their long way to becoming soldiers.


Welcome to Israel, the villa in the jungle. Kids grow up fast here, but they grow up happy, sensitive, and caring. Sure, they know their rights, but more than that – they know their duty.

This duty becomes starkly clear once more these very days with the terrible news coming out of Aleppo, Syria. To me it seems that the Syrian Civil War accentuates two points:

1] The West will not decisively intervene to stop wars, massacres, chemical warfare, intentional bombing of civilians or even genocide. The West turned its back on real yearnings for freedom in the area, from the Green Movement in Iran to the Free Syria Army. That is a lesson that Israel has already learned before, in 1967, when no country came to its aide in the face of renewed Arab threats to annihilate the Jewish state.

The only reason what is happening in Aleppo isn't happening in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem is the state of Israel. Realizing that I'm part of the Jewish nation being 're-called to life' is what moved me from my comfortable life in Chicago and brought me home to the Jewish homeland. It's why I am proud that my children serve their country, whatever the potential risks.

2] We live in an area where our neighbors commit horrendous war crimes – but have nothing to fear. People supposedly concerned with human rights will concentrate more on Israel than on the atrocities committed by Arabs and Muslims against other Arabs and Muslims.

It's the story of a man looking for something on the sidewalk under the lamppost. A passerby asks, "What are you looking for?"
The man replies, "My key".
"Where did it fall?"
The man says, "In the alley".
"So why are you looking here?"
To which the man says, "Because the alley is dark and there's light here".

Too many supposed human rights and social justice activists are looking under the lamppost that is Israel, the only place with any respect for human rights.

Why is Israel over-scrutinized?

Because it's easier to hang out in Israel, where there is no war going on and Israel is so open, law-abiding and democratic, rather than go to Syria a place where it seems human rights, even the basic right to life, have been abandoned.

The reports of massacres perpetrated by Iranian militias and their allies reinforce the sober view in Israel that there is no logic or realism in moving even one inch from the Golan Heights or Judea and Samaria. It should also compel all of us to scream out: No More!

It's not just the sober realization that Israel has to depend on itself with a little help from friends. It's not only harsh reality dictating that all the territory under our control has to be held on to for dear life. It is because of the ancient Jewish dream of building a just, righteous and reverent state that can be a beacon to the world, the beacon of keeping to scrupulous morality even in the conduct of national politics and policies. It is for that dream that we've come home and intend to stay home, in all of it, until the lamppost over out villa lights up the entire jungle, turning it into a Garden of Eden.

"Tomorrow, when the army demobilizes
Our hearts will stand up straight.
Tomorrow everyone will build with their own two hands
That which they dream today."
 

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