Operation Pillar of Defense
As a shaliach, as an Israeli, and especially as a person just like you, I felt the need to write to you. To give you not only the news and not only the numbers, but also the story: the story of real people, in real life.
Four years ago, 19 years old, six months into my military service, I was being called to do what I was trained to do as a combat soldier of the Israeli Defense Forces: defend my country. I was sent to the Gaza Strip to participate in Operation Cast Lead, an operation to prevent the bombing of the southern cities of Israel from missiles sent by terrorists in Gaza. Terrorists that hide in hospitals, in schools, and in mosques, knowing Israel won't hurt them there.
I have been there. I have seen. I felt it, not only as a civilian, but also as a solider in charge of detecting the missiles coming out of Gaza just in time in order to sound the "red alert," the alarm telling people to run for shelter since a missile is on a deadly mission from Gaza.
Fifteen seconds for the people of Sderot; this can be the difference between life and death. At the age of 19, I had that responsibility, of life and death, and I'm still scared and proud of it.
On January 18, 2009, the Operation ended and the area witnessed some relative quiet.
Today, four years have passed, and it is happening again. Nothing seems to have changed as terrorists are once again shooting missiles at civilians in Israel. The people of the South run for cover in shelters. They don't go to school, don't go to work, and are afraid to leave their homes or even take a shower because any minute an alarm could be sounded, beginning the countdown for their search for safety. Today a different 19 year old is doing the mission of his life, protecting just born babies and innocent seniors, teenagers and adults.
Israel is responding with air strikes at military targets, the biggest of them was the killing of the head of "Hamas," a terrorist organization that rules Gaza today.
Israel is doing what is necessary to protect its people, the mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters that are again under attack, traumatized for life , in a continuos life threat.
Some of my soldiers are recruited or still serving, and some of my friends are in shelters.
All I want to do is to go and help, to support Israel. However, today, I don't have my gun, I don't have my tank, but I do have something. Today, I have are my words, to try and protect Israel from a distance. After four years, Israel still needs me and needs you. That's why I'm here. That's why I am writing to you. That's why I need you as one part of me reacts the same no matter where or when: my heart - with the poor people of the South and the brave soldiers protecting them.
Everything you see in the paper, on the internet...just think of the people that are more then a news story - 18-19 years olds and their families that need our support, even if we are not there.