Since it’s rebirth, the IDF has stood as a source of pride to the Jewish Nation. Not just in the forefront of Israel’s fight against our enemies and terrorism, but a world class military that has been the vanguard of new tactics, strategies and technology.
Recently, I attended a dinner for the “Friends of the IDF”, or FIDF for short. It was wonderful to see how people got together to show support for our brave men and women serving Israel and the Jewish people.
The recent Operation in Gaza was of course brought up and the stories of heroism and courage flowed. To show the danger our residents of the south have lived under, a map was presented. The map showed the different ranges of the missiles and the times needed to take cover. The Gaza strip was shown in white, clearly not a part of the State of Israel anymore. Most disturbing, however, was that the areas of Judea and Samaria were also shown in white.
Recent statistics stated that at least 50% of the Elite combat officers are from Judea and Samaria along with at least 30% of all combat troops. How is it that this breeding ground of Jewish soldiers and future leaders was not included in the State of Israel?
I watched as $15 million dollars was raised at the dinner to provide comfort and better conditions for our soldiers, all the while as the source of these modern day Maccabees was blotted out, an incredible feat and blessing and at the same time an insult to say the least.
It appears to me that the majority of the supporters of the IDF outside of Israel are not aware of the facts. Obvious at the dinner was also the strong feeling of Zionism and support for Israel, all of Israel. So how is it that the FIDF chose to forget one of the most valuable assets the IDF and the State of Israel has known since our rebirth? I have met many that are involved with the FIDF, and they are far from ignorant, they are true examples of strong Jews who believe in being involved. That being said, many of the IDF officers working with the FIDF also are fine examples of our people who value the treasure of Judea and Samaria.
I am hoping that those who prepared the presentation simply made an innocent mistake. Unfortunately, I fear that I am the one who is mistaken.
As I mentioned, many of these officers and combat troops live in Judea and Samaria, they give all they can, most of them going into the best units available, all throughout the IDF. Indeed, soldiers from these communities of Judea and Samaria are known as the best of the best - the many career soldiers making up the 50% of the elite combat officer corp. I mentioned, often find themselves away from their families for long periods of time. They are willing give everything they have for our people, only asking that we watch over their families while they are gone. How can they be ignored by the FIDF? As Jews from Israel, we find ourselves in ambassadorial roles overseas, what message are we sending out to the Diaspora and other nations of the world when we do not fully acknowledge the cream of the crop, and ignore their homes?
One of the missions of the IDF is to show the strength of the Jewish people, to say to the world, “Never Again”, and to let our enemies know that Jewish blood will not be taken for granted. The FIDF is one of the premier organizations that carry this message - it must also carry the responsibility of telling the story of our heroes. The IDF is not aligned with any political party, nor should the FIDF.
It is also the responsibility of our fellow Jews to know the truth and give credit where it is due. Ignorance is proving to be one of our greatest enemies, standing alongside with the lack of a strong identity.
As written above, it is alarming how many of us are not aware of what is really going on in Israel. Jews are brought on missions, yet they are not shown the whole country. They come out in support of the IDF yet do not travel and see the source of our heritage. How can we expect anyone to have an informed opinion or make a proper decision based on only half the picture?
I urge Jewish leaders throughout the world to behave responsibly in their communities and present the entire picture to them, not a tempered concept. As individuals, we all have the right to our opinions, but we also have the responsibility to arrive at them through knowledge and not ignorance. This is the only way we will truly continue to develop and not be lead as sheep to an unfavorable demise. If you support the IDF you must support all of it and all of Israel, and not close your eyes any longer.