Saturday, October 8, 2011

Born on the day war broke out

Observations on Yom Kippur 2011 (1)  

Again, like every year since 1973, Yom Kippur provided an opportunity to once more remember that war and the way it took the State of Israel by surprise, and for again finding soldiers and officers whose stories of heroism were not yet published in previous years, and for newspaper headlines  quoting the Army Chief of Staff and his senior officers regarding the best way to win the next war. And because there had just been in this country huge demonstrations demanding to seriously deal with social issues,  including a demand to cut the defense budget, this year's Yom Kippur provides a golden opportunity for supporters of the military establishment to prepare a counter-attack, urging that not a single penny be  cut .

"Yediot Aharonot" found an original angle: interviewing 38-years old  military officers, who were born during that war. Such as Lieutenant Colonel  Amihai Segal, who was born exactly on its first day. He commands  the   Netzach Yehuda Battalion in the Kfir Brigade - the brigade which was established specifically to maintain Israeli rule in "Judea and Samaria" and whose soldiers go out every day, and especially every night, to detain people in the Palestinian cities and villages. Like many officers of the brigade, he and his family live in the settlement of Eli, where they found "a community which is very supportive and helpful." Lieutenant Colonel Segal is not much concerned about the fact that thirty-eight years after the war raging on the day he was born, the state of Israel has not yet reached  peace with its neighbors, and that military officials talk about the next war in terms of "when" rather than "if." In the eyes of Lieutenant Colonel Segal, there are problems and national objectives more important than peace.

Who still remembers that the Yom Kippur War could have been avoided, and that in 1978, Israel signed the peace agreement with Egypt which could have been signed already in 1970?  This is a lesson which only a few hint at.