On the bright side of Israel’s war against Hamas
Here are two pieces that should bring smiles to your faces. Israel Media Room (see addendum at the end of this article) shared these with us. This is a new service described on their Facebook page as “Israeli media professionals providing relevant, fact-checked news on the situation in Israel.”
ONE: Reconnecting with Ancient Jewish Gaza
IDF soldiers prayed at an ancient 6th-century synagogue in Gaza. The event marks the first time in two decades that a Jew has been able to pray at this holy site. The army has strict regulations on information sharing during combat, and as such, no pictures have been publicized as of the time of this writing. The synagogue, which dates back to 508 CE, is known to house a remarkable mosaic of King David playing a lyre with Hebrew inscriptions.
[Personal note, I wrote an article about the Jewish and Christian connections with Gaza: see here.]
TWO: A boy, a ball and some soldiers
This heartwarming story of friendship and support was shared with us by writer Ruth Efroni.
Ido, a young boy who lives in a moshav (a small agricultural town) near the Gaza border, is a survivor of the worst day in Jewish history since the Holocaust. Most of the community has evacuated, but his parents stayed behind to carry out essential work. Ido is the last remaining kid on the premises, and was getting rather lonely there. One day, soldiers from an army unit stationed on the moshav were playing soccer. When the ball rolled off the field, it was Ido who kicked it back to them.
The soldiers seem to have understood the significance of meeting Ido, and a beautiful relationship has blossomed. They have included Ido in their roll calls, assigned him the special responsibility to watch the medic’s bag and given him (age-appropriate) medical training. Until recently, Ido was afraid of leaving his home, but now he gets up early every day to help the unit set up for their morning training, and joins the adults in the evening to serve dinner to the soldiers. Ido has immersed himself in helping the soldiers. In turn, the soldiers honored Ido in a special ceremony, presenting him with their official badge.
Whether the IDF unit adopted a child, or Ido adopted the soldiers is not clear. But this story is a vivid reminder of what the Israeli soldiers are fighting for – a brighter future for our next generation
NOTE: This is an abridged version of a longer Facebook post uploaded by Ruth Efroni. If you want to read the story in its entirety, as she wrote it, you can read it here
Let me just let Efroni have the last word here (my translation):
I know it sounds like a story about a platoon that adopted a child; that’s what I thought at first too. But it’s not. It’s a story about a boy who adopted a platoon. And every day he reminds the fathers and big brothers and big sisters in the unit who they are, who they are fighting for, and who they miss. I’m pretty sure that on normal days I would think, what does a child have to do with the army, that it shouldn’t be like that. But these are not ordinary days. Redemption comes from the most unexpected people, you know.
And thanks to Y., Ido’s mother for allowing me to write about her wonderful son.
And let me thank Efroni’s son, who is one of the soldiers in that unit, a paramedic, who passed this story on to his writer-mother.
Feature image courtesy of Ruth Efroni.
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