Shabbat Shalom: Swords of Iron Personal Update
The following diary entry is from our Jewish Agency representative, Nadav Eylon, who was called up from Los Angeles to defend the State of Israel. Many may know Nadav as he has conducted several Zoom briefings for the Colorado Jewish community.
On Saturday night I flew to Israel to join my team in the “Lotar” unit (Counter Terrorism Special Unit, which belongs to the Southern Command). We flew into Israel from LAX with EL AL, where no other airline would have taken this flight.
I am sure you all know what it feels like to fly into Israel, and that tingling feeling you get once the airplane reaches the Tel Aviv beach, but this time it was different. We flew in from Haifa, and took a different route in, flying above route 6 into Ben Gurion. That simple action already had me on the edge of my seat.
Israelis are a different breed, and we are well known for our Balagan (chaotic mess), unless it is in time of a national crisis. This time it was Israelis on national crisis on steroids. Everything is so quiet, all the lines look like lines, people speak quietly, no one is rushing anyone else. My father came in to pick me up at midnight. His face told me everything I needed to know without even asking.
I gave him the strongest hug I could. My father is a veteran of so many wars in Israel, but this time is different. All three of his sons are reservists now; all three have families, all three went to risk their lives once again.
The roads were clear, almost no traffic. Many tanks are going South but also North. There are soldiers at every corner and thousands of parked cars left behind on the main roads. Those cars belong to the hundreds of thousands of reservists that left home to fight in the war. Hundreds of thousands of cars! Everywhere near our bases, for miles, and miles.
I went directly south to my unit, getting my gear, pistol and M4, vest helmet and all the rest and tried to get some sleep.
The next couple of days were tense, lots of training and going over different scenarios, but also hearing my friends, the stories from the first two days where they fought off terrorists and seeing what the attack left behind.
Nothing prepared me for what I was about to see and hear.
The sheer destruction, the horror, the violence, the hatred. Those demons have done it all, took pictures and videos of it all, and were proud for doing it…. Seeing a dead mother, where her dead baby is still attached to her, that both were slaughtered in cold blood; it is a sight you can’t unsee…
After three days we went back to our community in the Arava to rest and regain some strength. What is taking place in our communities is no less than amazing.
All of our communities have opened their hearts and homes in order to host families who survived those horrors. 350 people have arrived to my Moshav and are now hosted by families here. It’s a 25% growth that took place overnight, and all are welcome; all have a place to stay. People have left their own homes and moved in with relatives to vacate their house for those families. There is a market that is completely free for them to provide clothes, dry food, soap, shampoo, bicycles, and scooters — whatever they need. Our elders are volunteering there 12 hours a day for those families. We opened a laundry room for them, a hair salon and daycare, everything for free. Their teens have activities and tonight, a kid who was supposed to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah this week and can’t; well…the community is arranging him a celebration here. It takes place all over the Arava, in seven villages, and more than 3,000 people have come here in total.
This is our second war for independence. More than 1,500 dead and thousands wounded. People lost everything, and our enemies are celebrating our deaths. More than 30 communities are almost destroyed. Entire classes of children are either dead or kidnapped. The situation is rough.
But we can’t look back now, and we can’t stop fighting for our freedom.
When the Jews decide to give up, no one else will come in and help them.
We, all of us must stay together strong and united. So many people and empires thought they can eradicate us, but we saw them fall and disappear and only remain on the pages of history books. We must stay together and strong.
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