Monday, April 10, 2006

Reflections of an Israeli Soldier

From the YU Commentator:
Before I entered the army, I had a bias against all Arabs and refused to recognize their despair. After seeing their suffering, however, I acknowledge that they too struggle. Having maned an IDF checkpoint for Arabs, I could not help but notice their downtrodden state. The Palestinians - men, women, and children - would pass by every day wearing the same dirty clothes. They lacked running water and had such poor hygiene that the soldiers would argue over who would have the 'misfortune' of searching them. I personally believe that the corrupt Palestinian Authority is to blame. They exploit millions of dollars in foreign aid, and use it to fund terrorism and increase their own wealth. In Gaza City there are villas so fancy beyond the means of even some of the wealthier families in our community. But no matter who deserves the blame, Jews must recognize their anguish; they too are creations of God.
I wonder how common this is? Do most Israelis finish their army tours with a new and enlightened opinion of Arabs? Anyway, his final comment puts me in mind of a Pesach midrash: "God is not happy at the downfall of the wicked. ... When the angels tried to sing songs of praise to God at the Red Sea, God silenced them: ‘My handiwork, my human creatures, are drowning in the sea and you want to sing a song of praise?’” (T.B. Megillah 10b)

[Tip of the kippah to Yisreol Medad]

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