By Ted Belman
Beit Halochem (Disabled Veterans of Israel) hosted an evening tonight in Toronto at which Efraim Eitan MK spoke. I was there.
Effie reached the level of Brigadier General in the IDF and is a member of the Israeli parliament’s Security and Foreign Affairs Committee. As a result he was in the loop with those who were investigating the failures in the recent war in Lebanon. The Washinton Times recently reported on his talk to members of Congress.
Here’s what he reported tonight.
1. The quality and dedication of the Israeli soldiers was as good as ever.
2. The leadership both military and political failed them. The military leaders have been replaced and the political leaders are next.
3. The IDF knows how to deal with Hezbollah next time.
4. If all else fails Israel will destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities and set them back for many years. The US has been so advised. Jews all over the world and Americans too must be prepared to protect themselves thereafter.
5. Contrary to appearances, what with a left-leaning media and government, Israel will not be withdrawing from Judea and Samaria. The people have learned their lesson. Congress understands this and you can expect that the two state solution will die a slow death.
6 Two things have contributed to this understanding; what happened in Lebanon and Gaza as a result of withdrawing and the new demographic study showing no demographic threat.
Finally he stressed that, if Israel is to survive for another two thousand years and beyond, it must reaffirm its biblical connection and be a Jewish state. Not a state like all the others. I totally agree.
I also want to mention how emotional and uplifting the evening was. Beit Halochem reminds us that a war is more than its outcome. One disabled veteran from the Lebanese war, Dr. David Shashar an obstetrician doing reserve duty, told his story. He was holed up with 45 others in a house in south Lebanon to spend the night. He tells of the fear and determination prevalent among them. Suddenly they were hit by two anti tank rockets which killed a third of them and injured another third. All hell broke lose. He himself was injured. His arm was almost totally severed near the elbow. He and his arm were evacuated to a hospital where he awoke nine days later. The arm had been reconnected.
He reminded us that 141 soldiers were killed in that war along with 350 that were severely injured. They each have a story to tell. They each have siblings, wives children and parents who survived them or are there to support the injured. And behind them stands millions of their country men and millions of Jews and friends around the world. They fought for all of us and we should not forget them. Israel has 50,000 disabled vets. Beit Halochem exists to rehabilitate them psychologically and physically. Support them financially, when you can.
Effie has many stories to tell and tell them he did. He was born in Israel in the baby boom after the holocaust. His grandparents in Lithuania were killed by their neighbors simply because they were Jews. His mother was a doctor in the Soviet Army where she worked for five years throughout the war. The stories she can tell. After the war she knew that the only place for her, for a Jew, was in Eretz Yisrael. So she made her way there with a detour to Cyprus, courtesy of the British.
His father was a professor in America who happened to be in China during the war where he was imprisoned by the Japanese for two years in unimaginable conditions. He too made his way to Israel. Effie grew up secular in a kibbutz as did most of his generation. He is now religious.
Everyone of his generation has a similar story to tell.
He was in the front lines on the Golan when the Yom Kippur War started. He told of the fear in seeing hundreds of tanks bearing down on his outpost and his decision to stay and fight rather than to run and save himself. He talked about the ethos existing in the heart of every IDF soldier to stand his ground in defense of home and family. There was nowhere to run to.
He was also part of the Entebbe Rescue Mission and shared his story. He was there in Amona standing side by side with Aryeh Eldad another MK and gave witness to the depths the secular left will go to to defeat religious nationalists.
And he was there in Toronto to give a message of hope. And I was there to hear it. Am Yisrael Chai.