Monday, March 5, 2012

Israel’s unknown heroes


Israel’s unknown heroes

Op-ed: Terror victims who moved on with their lives are unknown, forgotten heroes of Israel
Giulio Meotti


There are the maimed military heroes. Some have no legs. Others have no arms. Some are blind. Others suffer from burns all over their bodies. Many have been tortured. Today they work in banana fields and teach at universities. They are architects, writers, lawyers, artists, members of Knesset. Formerly, they were pilots, paratroopers, artillery officers and jeep drivers. Most of Israel’s 24 Paralympians incurred their disabilities while serving in the IDF. But most important are the civilian survivors of terror attacks.

This is the true face of the war against the Jewish people in the home front: Jews scathed and scarred, living reminders of the Israeli path for survival. They are a microcosm of the unfailing spirit so many in the world associate with being Israeli. The second Intifada produced 17,000 wounded, a figure which extrapolated to the population of the United States would be the equivalent of some 664,133 injured.

Ten years ago, Asael Shabo survived a terror attack that destroyed his family in Itamar (a mother and three children were butchered in their own house.) Asael lost his leg in the killing spree, but he just accomplished a dream by joining Israel’s wheelchair basketball team. Such people epitomize courage and determination, faith and resistance. They are the most important, unknown and forgotten heroes of Israel.

'We won't stop dancing'

I remember a security guard at the Kiryat Hayovel supermarket who nearly lost his legs; an Australian-born policeman who lost a leg in Neveh Ya’acov; a girl with shrapnel lodged in her brain from the double bombing at the Ben-Yehuda pedestrian mall; a boy who lost his eyesight at Haifa’s Maxim restaurant.

At the Dolphinarium site, where a suicide bomber claimed the lives of 21 teenagers, there is a sign, taken from the Psalms, which says “We won’t stop dancing.”

These maimed heroes remember that in Israel too many parents buried their children, too many victims are still in a coma, and too much blood was spilled. One has no words to comfort the families who have lost loved ones. Or innocent people who were wounded, who remain traumatized, who continue to undergo therapy, and who live their lives wheelchair-bound.


We can offer only our love and concern, our prayers and practical help. But we know that the spirit of the Jewish people and life itself inevitably triumphs over cackling, hate-filled mothers who pathetically send their own children out to murder Jews and die. Israel won't be destroyed.

Giulio Meotti, a journalist with Il Foglio, is the author of the book A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel's Victims of Terrorism

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4198028,00.html