A Sad Day
by Shalom Pollack
It was a busy day for me today, yet another one that I doubt I will ever forget.
It began with almost running to the radio to hear what might have happened while I was asleep. Two more precious souls were killed over night.
Along with over thirty thousands people I went to the Mount Herzl military cemetery for a never to forget funeral.he never to forget funeral. Even as I rode the tram ,I sensed that the bulging cars would empty out at the Mt. Herzl station. From every corner, Jews of every stripe made their silent way to be as close to where Max Steinberg was being laid to rest.
Max was one of a number of “lone soldiers” who have fallen in battle in the last few days. Tens of thousands attended two other such funerals one in Haifa for a young man who came from Texas and another in Ashkelon for a French new comer.
All three were brothers in arms in the army and country of choice. All three had no family in Israel but tens of thousands of their new family could not be kept away. In Ashkelon is one of those favorite targets of Hamas’s missiles. It did not keep the new family away.
Max’s parents and two siblings spoke. It was his parents’ first time in Israel.
His father opened by saying,”I am sure many of you are asking yourselves the same question,”Do I regret Max’s decision to leave LA, make Israel his home, and join the IDF”? The answer is a resounding no!” In LA he was a very good kid. It wasn’t enough for him. He wanted to live for something. He always said , if you live for yourself you are not alive. If you live for others, you live again”
“He is living again for all of us and always will”
Looking around at the huge crowd, I learned once again the meaning of “Klal Yisroel”, The People of Israel” There is no other like it.
My mind wandered to the big philosophical questions about why do so many wish us ill, spread libels and try to kill us,…today and ..always..?
Looking around, the answer that came to mind today was…jealousy.
It’s as good as any of many other suggested reasons.
They know they wont destroy us and this just agitates their sick souls even more. It is hard to find logic in neuroses.
These are the kinds of thoughts that nagged me as I stood among thirty thousand beautiful souls on the mountain that has received Max today..and so many before him..
From the funeral I took the tram to Neve Yaakov, the northern most neighborhood in Jerusalem. It is one of the poorer areas, where many new immigrants find their first homes in Israel.
There were requests for people to pay a condolence call to an Ethiopian family whose son Moshe was killed in the same armored vehicle as Max.
Both Golani fighters were defending their people when the Arab missile killed them together.
What in the world would bring a Max from LA and a Moshe from Ethiopia in the same armored vehicle so far from their places of birth?
Am Yisroel Chai! (the people of Israel live!)
An after thought;
I read on Al Jazeera piece by Hanine Hassan, Phd candidate at Columbia.
She revealed to her readers that the “lone Soldier” program of the IDF is yet another tool of Israeli genocide. It is far more sinister than the phenomenon of Jihadis leaving their countries to fight the war of Islam in foreign lands.
If she is a Phd candidate in Colombia, she must know…