Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Second Lebanon War Ribbon

On my way to work this morning, I stopped on the side of the road to help a road accident victim. After we treated him and loaded him onto the ambulance for transport, one of the first responders came over to me and said, "this is for you," and handed me an envelope with my name on it -- the return address was Israel's "Ministry of Defense."

I got into my car and opened the envelope; "This hereby gives you the privilege of wearing the Ribbon of the Second Lebanon War"

My name and ID were printed on the leaflet, and the war ribbon accompanied the leaflet in the envelope.

"Ribbons" are the colorful insignias that soldiers get for a vareity of reasons. In Israel, they are issued after wars. In the US, for a multitude of reasons.

I received this ribbon for serving in the capacity as a Magen David Adom (Israel emergency rescue and medical service) volunteer ambulance driver and medic, during the Second Lebanon War. I posted about it back then, here (with pictures, etc.)

While war ribbons are normally given to combat soldiers, it was decided that for this war, since so many emergency rescue service took part in the war effort, under rocket fire, that they would also be awarded to civilians as well. MDA, the Fire Department, and other emergency service workers and volunteers are receiving it.

The question is: To wear it, or not?

As a whole, Israel did rather poorly in the Second Lebanon War (despite many heroic acts of bravery by outstanding IDF soldiers, and despite the round the clock commitment from MDA, Haztala, and Fire Department workers and volunteers). At the end of the day, we surrendered under fire, pulled out our troops, did not receive our kidnapped soldiers back as part of the negotiated end of battle, and we were left with smug politicians like Ehud Olmert, Tzippi Livni and a "heroic" Chief of Staff who patted themselves on the back that we won the war.

Many combat soldiers felt that giving the "war ribbon" to all IDF soldiers, not just to those on the war front and in combat, but even to IDF office workers in the comfort of Tel-Aviv, was adding insult to the injury of a war without direction, without objectives (actually, none of the stated objectives were met), and a Chief of Staff who cared more about his stock portfolio than the war. (He quietly sold his portfolio in the first hours of the war). Many also thought that emergency crews, despite being under fire, shouldn't get this ribbon. My combat-buddy doubletapper would probably agree this shouldn't be given out so easily.

Will I wear it? Maybe, but I doubt it.

The most important aspect of it all is for my kids to know that in time of crisis, Israel has to bond together, and do what it takes -- be in milluim/IDF reserve duty, driving an ambulance, or volunteering in some capacity.

Shabbat Shalom -- a good weekend to you all.


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Isaac said...

I think you should wear it. The point of a ribbon is to honor the individual for going into harm's way on behalf of everyone back home. Regardless of the outcome of the war, you did something extraordinary (Most humans don't willingly go into harm's way.) for all the right reasons, and you deserve the credit.

Sure, some people got the same ribbon without going into harm's way or without participating with the right intentions, but I'm sure that the overwhelming majority of people with that ribbon - both soldiers and emergency personnel - are, like you, heroes. Their company is one you should be proud to be part of.

Lion of Zion said...

i think there are 2 separate issues
1) whether it should be awarded in such large numbers to non-combat soldiers
2) whether it should be awarded because israel "lost" the war

for #1, i would side with the combat soldiers, but then again i didn't live through the war on the home front and don't know what that feels like and how important the contributions made there by civilians are too.

but if #2 is the only objection, then definately wear it. the ribbon awards the *individuals*, whose performance is not measured by the ultimate outcome of the war (as this was decided not by the courage and contributions of the individuals, but by the decisions of state/government/command staff/etc.)

kol ha-kavod to you in any case

Anonymous said...

Big deal. So Jameel drove around in an ambulance during the war. Combat is: bullets whizzing past your head, and watching your friends get killed.

He doesn't deserve a combat ribbon.

DoubleTapper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DoubleTapper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DoubleTapper said...

So here's how it works:
It's called "Second Lebanon War Ribbon" and is classified as a decoration. (Not citation, Medal, etc.)

Only IDF Chairwarmers wear campaign ribbons.
True warriors do wear citations and medals that are awarded for individual and unit valor!

The "Law of Decorations in the Israel Defense Forces" of 1970 entitles the minister of Defense to award campaign ribbons to soldiers, policemen, prison personnel and other members of the security forces, for service during war, campaign or armed conflict. Seven campaign ribbons exist, the most recently (2007) instituted is the ribbon for the Second Lebanon War Ribbon. No medals are connected to these ribbons!

The Second Lebanon War ribbon was awarded to:
a) every IDF Serviceman or woman who was on active duty during at least 3 continuous days, between 12 July and 14 August 2006, as well as to citizens as specified hereafter.

b) any IDF Serviceman or woman who served between the above dates, less then 3 days, but was missed in action and has not been recovered since, who was killed, taken prisoner of war, was injured, got ill or his illness deteriorated, during and as a result of his service.

c) civilian security personnel like the police and prison service who served or worked voluntary for at least 3 continuous days during the period defined as in a)

d) civilians, who provided assistance during at least 8 continuous days to the front line units or the civilian population, in one of the following bodies:

- government offices except the Ministry of Defense
- state companies and daughter companies
- fire brigades
- Magen David Adom first aid association
- local municipalities and companies controlled by them
- Chesed shel Emet - body recovery association (ZAK"A)
- Hospitals
- Security officers in specified places
- Friends Of IDF
- other legal bodies
- national organizations like the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Jewish National Fund and their affiliated organizations.

In case the eligible person died, a member of his family (widow, widower, parent, brother, sister, child) may request to receive the ribbon or replacement of lost or worn ribbon.

Presentation of the ribbon started on September 2, when the ribbon was awarded to those who also earned a decoration for acts during this war. From October 2007 till March 2008 the ribbon will be presented or sent by mail to others entitled.

Jameel voluntarily put himself in harms way. He went to the front and administered to the population under fire and is a hero. So Jameel is entitled to receive the Ribbon. He should wear it with pride on his Paramedic's uniform.

BTW, does anyone else find it strange that it's officially called the Second Lebanon War? There was no First Lebanon War!

It was called Peace For Galilee War

DoubleTapper, blogging on Guns Politics Defense from Israel

Gee a Moron said...

One of the stories in today's news was that rank/corps designation badges (semalim) for the IDF were no longer going to be made in Israel but had been outsourced to China because of a bid that was 16% cheaper.

Does this apply to ribbons as well? I wouldn't want to wear a ribbon made after the factory up north folds. Of course you got yours and presumably the IDF made enough of the Second Lebanon War ribbons for their needs but the next one will have Made in China stamped on it.

YMedad said...

I think you only wear it on your uniform and then, when you are on active service - during your conscript period or if you go into the standing army as a career officer. Otherwise, only if you wear your uniform at a special event like a memorial service.

As a ribbon-awardee for the First Lebanon War for combat, take my advice, it's nice to have but display it only at home.

josh said...

The MADA volunteer just happened to be carrying it around with him and you showed up by chance?

I don't understand the dilemma. You are going to wear it as a lapel pin, or as a talis pin?

Julian said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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