Sunday, May 08, 2011

Jameel's Memorial Day in the IDF Reserves

Its been a while since I found the time to write a proper blog post about my IDF milluim reserve duty. While the majority of Israelis will be commemorating Israel’s memorial day and celebrating Independence Day at home, there are those who in the reserves who are working overtime in the IDF in the reserves, keeping the country safe.


This tour of service for 24 days has been rather eye opening…as we serve in a forward combat IDF outpost in the hills surrounding Hevron. We interact with Arabs and Jews, UN representatives, Left wingers and anarchists, the media…and settlers as well. What we really want is for the Shabbat weekends to pass quietly – a rainy weekend means that Leftists won’t go to the Susiya area and create disturbances with the Arabs against the settlers. When it rains, everyone stays home, and we can get some much needed rest.

There are young and old people in our unit from all walks of life in Israel. Secular and Religious, soldiers aged 23 to 57, single men, married men, fathers of large and small families, even grandfathers -- all arrived for reserve duty with the common goal of protecting Israel. We are here from all walks of Israel’s society…there are students, blue collar workers, lawyers, tour-guides, rabbis, teachers, engineers, hi-tech managers, and some are unemployed, in-between a myriad of jobs.

Reserve duty in our area -- a forward combat zone, means we guard our outpost encampment in multiple locations 24 hours a day, we patrol the roads, set up road checkpoints, man pillbox towers along roads, and are responsible for stopping terrorist activity in our area…but our primary objective is to keep the Jewish settlements safe from terror. This Memorial Day and Independence Day we will be working more hours than usual, protecting the multiple ceremonies and celebrations…so that Israel remains safe. When our 24 days are complete, another reserve unit will take our place – and their commanders are already hard at work planning for the most professional and effective security plan.

This past Friday night, those of us who weren’t on a security shift sat down for Shabbat dinner. Everyone participated, regardless of where their level of religious observance happens to be. Our deputy company commander spoke for a few minutes about the weekly Torah reading…we ate, and sang Shabbat Zemirot songs for over an hour….Ashkenazi melodies overlapped and intertwined with Sephardi tunes, as everyone sang together.

The IDF is the army of the people.

Before my reserve duty, I picked up a small 2 volume set of books by Rav Yosef Tzvi Rimon, that discusses Jewish observance issues in the IDF. Over Shabbat I had the opportunity to read part of it, and I found this story particularly meaningful.

Rav Rimon quotes a story from Chief Rabbi Lau’s book, “Light of the World” (Oro shel Olam), page 380, and Rav Rimon says he also heard the same story from many other people as well.

“A student in the Kol Torah Yeshiva in Jerusalem, approached his Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and asked him the question: May I leave my Torah studies in the yeshiva to go [for a short visit] and pray at the graves of tzadikim (righteous people,) in the Galil (Northern Israel?)

Rav Auerbach answered, “It is better to say in yeshiva, and study Torah”

The student replied, “Isn’t there a time I could go to visit the graves of tzadikim? Doesn’t Rav Auerbach go and pray by the graves of tzadikim?

Rav Auerbach answered, “In order to pray at the graves of tzadikim, one doesn’t have to travel up to the Galil. Whenevr I feel the need to pray at the graves of tzadikim, I go to Mount Herzel, [the national cemetery for fallen IDF soliders in Jerusalem], to the graves of the soliders…who fell “Al Kiddush Hashem” for the sanctification of G-d.”

This Yom Hazikaron, Israel Memorial Day, I urge you to take a few minutes to honor the memory of the brave IDF soldiers who fell in battle in the creation and ongoing struggle for the safety and security of the State of Israel. There are also many, many wounded soldiers and victims of Arab Terror who are also remembered on this day…and we need to remember them and their families.

There are those in captivity who cannot celebrate this Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. IDF soldier Gilad Shalit is held captive by the PA’s partner, Hamas, denied visits by the Red Cross in gross violation of international law.

Lastly, we must thank the IDF soldiers in the regular army and the reserves, without them and G-d’s help, we would be over-run by Arab terror and Islamic jihad.

Despite the difficulty, both personal and sometimes ideological, I am proud to be able to serve in the IDF this Israel Memorial day and Independence day. May our Independence merit the full redemption of our people and the ingathering of the exiles.

Chag Sameach!

--Jameel
In an IDF Outpost…

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9 comments:

Yonatan said...

Jameel, although I know it is not needed because you do this out of love and caring for klal Yisrael - thank you for your service and keeping us connected via your posts.

LI Reader said...

Well said. And special thanks for the story.

Anonymous said...

When does Joesettler go to Milluim (so we don't have to read his posts)?

JoeSettler said...

Not until the end of July. Too bad. You've got to keep reading my posts for a while.

jonathan becker said...

rah, rah, sis boom bah. if your "primary objective" is to keep "jewish settlements safe from terror" you wouldn't be working for the idf, whose primary objective, as you should know, is doing whatever the hell the government tells it to do, including disarming the settlers and abandoning their various posts, including checkpoints, settlement security and whole army bases not to mention um, the graves of tzadikkim, for purely political reasons.

i know, i know, you're like the grateful dead:" you're not the best at what you do, but you're the only ones that do it".

so ok, who's ass do i kiss to show my appreciation for the warm feeling of security i'm getting here in the middle of the shomron from your efforts? oh, i know- teva pharmaceuticals. yeah, if you really want to provide a sense of security you should go to work for them. it's only because of them that anyone buys this line about security for the settlements being a priority for the idf or it's corrupt and clueless masters.

just kidding, everyone. yom ha'atzmaut sameach! party on, dudes! :)

rutimizrachi said...

Thank you for your service to our country, Jameel.

D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Love of the Land said...

Jameel,
If they cut you loose for a bit tomorrow afternoon, drop in and join our crowd. 39/7 in K4.

A Soldier's Mother said...

Beautiful post, Jameel. Thanks. Stay safe! I get my first dose of miluim (well, once removed), this summer when Elie goes in for the first time. I hope he is old enough to appreciate the wonder that is Israel - as you describe it so well...And Joe - when it's your turn to go in...stay safe and try to post!

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