A message from an Israeli soldier who took part in Operation Pillar of Defense

It’s nearly 3 AM, the cease fire was announced 30 hours ago, I’ve been home for 7 hours already, but I’m still restless. I cannot sleep. The thoughts and feelings fill my mind…

I was called in from my studies to help my brigade prepare for the ground operation to the Gaza Strip as part of operation Pillar of Defense. I spent a week in the field, since last Friday. Although we didn’t go in, I returned home full of strength.

I had the privilege to be out in the field and see true unity amongst Am Yisrael and an army not only strong militarily but strong in spirit.

I met and worked with many soldiers and commanders, all with deep faith that we are doing the right thing. I saw hundreds of soldiers dance hugging in a huge circle, singing “Am Yisrael Chai” and “the nation of eternity isn’t afraid of a long journey”. I saw commanders draw power and faith out of this amazing scene.

Under my command were a few reserve soldiers, all 10 years older than me and more. They were part of tens of thousands who enlisted to their units until the enlistment count stood at 120% percent. Doctors, students, fathers, high-tech engineers, meat sellers – they all came, from all around, to protect our nation and country.

I met truck and mobile drivers who drove over 10 hours from north to south, back and forth, again and again, just so we can have our armed vehicles to go in. All they asked for was “Go in, do your job, and let us finally have some quiet”.

I met volunteers who supported us with hot soup, drinks and goodies as we waited in the field for the order that never came.

I met brave residents of Southern Israel, who taught me what true courage and power is. Can you imagine living under fire for 12 years??

A month ago I returned from our honeymoon in India. I told people that within 2 months I saw true unity in Am Yisrael – there, in the Far East, and here, under fire. My question is, why can’t we be so united at normal times, on a daily basis? Why can’t we gather around the same values we truly share, even if deep inside? Why can’t we respect and treat each other as brother unless it’s in the middle of nowhere, or in time of crisis?

It starts with each and every one of us. Can we try being nicer to each other? Can we try harder to respect each other’s views and opinions, even if they contradict mine?? Can I treat every Jew as my brother, even if he wears black, or doesn’t wear a Kippa\Yarmalka, if he’s dark skinned or if he prays differently than I do? if he has long hair and piercings, or if he has long Peot? Can I try understanding what bothers him, what hurts him, so I can avoid doing so? Can I truly CARE about someone who is from my nation, even if we are different and sometimes it looks like we’re not so connected??

The change starts with YOU, with ME, with US, in the small, daily actions and reactions. No politician can promise or do this, it is only up to us.
Thank you for protecting and fighting for us worldwide, all around the media, social networks and out on the streets, helping justice win and revealing evil lies. I’m proud to be part of this nation, and part of a unique and morale army. May we be blessed with these unique feelings every day, and not only in times of crisis.

 

Shabbat Shalom
Yaakov Selavan
Lieutenant, IDF Armored Corps

 

 

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