We will be joined tonight by Israeli soldiers who will be telling us of their lives and responsibilities in the Israel Defense Forces.
I was speaking with one of the Commanders the other day. I asked him: “How do these young soldiers feel about the Palestinians in general?” His response was that even as Israel’s security depends upon maintaining a “watchful eye” upon those who have been called upon to kill Jews, that most of these young soldiers recognize that most Palestinians are good and decent people who want to live fulfilling and peaceful lives.
I wasn’t surprised by this response. In spite of the media’s portrayal of the Israeli military as aggressive and harsh, it is evident to me that Israel’s military is perhaps the most humane in the world. All of the soldiers spoke of their respect for all human life, and of how the military nurtures and reinforces that ideal from the time that these young people begin their military service.
Yes, “random” Palestinians have been attacking Israelis with knives and any other sharp object available to them. But these are a small minority of primarily young people who have been nurtured to hate, rather than to envision the rich possibilities that might come with peace with Israel.
Come meet and listen to these young soldiers tonight. I promise you that you will feel inspired and proud, and that you will come to further appreciate the good for which Israel stands. Golda Meir expressed it so well: “There will be peace when Arab parents love their own children more than they hate us.” May we, and these soldiers, be blessed to see the realization of that time.
Rabbi David Greenberg