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A Noble Shabbat Shalom

The Goldwassers at Ehud’s Funeral (image source)

Nobility.

That’s what I kept thinking as I read the words of Miki Goldwasser and Karnit Goldwasser at the funeral of Ehud Goldwasser. Noble people. Noble words. The heart and soul of Israel.

Both women spoke to the coffin and at the same time, to the nation of Israel. One, the mother, Miki, showed a toughness that one sees with many Israeli women of a certain age. The other, Karnit, spoke more softly and beautifully of her lost husband and lover. Their Hebrew was of such quality and beauty that it made me think of biblical poetry. This was the juicy, ripe fruit of Hebrew’s revival over the past 130 years.

But their message was the most noble element of their speeches. They spoke of the deceased Ehud lovingly, a family parting from a loved one, and not only for themselves but for their entire nation. Karnit spoke of Ehud’s love for the “moledet” which I guess translates into “homeland” or “nation of birth.” This love for the moledet was a part of him, she said, and part of his motivation to serve his country, Israel. It may have brought about his death, together with that of Eldad Regev, but the larger cause was clear to him. It was important to him.

The mother, Miki, spoke to the people of Israel and said to them, “zikpu komatchem” which I think translates into “straighten up” or “raise yourselves up.” You won the war, she told the nation, so raise yourselves up and be proud. As her son lay there, killed defending the country, she stood resolute, stone-faced and commanding and told the people of Israel to stand tall and be proud of who they are. It is an incredible thing to see and hear precisely because she’s doing it at the moment of her greatest loss. At her own son’s funeral she did this.

Nobility.


(link to original report)

And it became so clear, watching these women speak, that the trade – difficult and imbalanced as it was – had to be made. These families sacrificed their loved ones for an idea that a place for the Jewish people was necessary, important, just and good AND the reality that such a place can not exist without the commitment of the nation to send its husbands, fathers, sons and brothers off to war. The least the nation could do is sacrifice to bring them back to their families, even dead.

Stand tall and proud. Miki Goldwasser orders it.

Shabbat shalom.

18 Comments

  1. yoni

    7/18/2008 at 8:22 pm

    This was one of your best blog posts to date, TM, thank you.

  2. yoni

    7/18/2008 at 8:32 pm

    Wow, that video was incredibly moving. Its moments like these that separates Israel from their enemies, there was no calls for struggle, no calls for retaliation, only pride for the fallen and grief for our loss.

    Many people were critical of the Olmert government for allowing such a trade to take place, and at times I felt the same. But after watching this, I believe that this was the only thing that Israel could have done. It illustrates the great distinction between Israel and their enemies, even Kuntar, may his sole anguish in eternal damnation, talked of his envy for his ‘enemy’ in there determination to bring back soldiers, even if it is only their bodies. Please remember what that meant to the families of Eldad and Udi, they can finally continue on with their lives. And please, remember the words of Miki, stand tall and be proud, all Jews both in Israel and throughout the world.

    Shabbat Shalom

  3. Tom Morrissey

    7/19/2008 at 11:39 am

    Moving post. But let’s be honest about the moral of the story. This trade had to be made because, at the end of the day, Israel has no choice but to negotiate even with non-state, terrorist actors committed to its destruction– to prevent civilian deaths (the Gaza truce with Hamas), to redeem its pledge to its soldiers (the Hezbollah trade) and, in the end, to settle its dispute with the Palestinians. That’s the rationale behind this deal– agree with it or not.

  4. montana_urban_legend

    7/19/2008 at 2:38 pm

    This was a very good post, Middle.

  5. Ben-David

    7/19/2008 at 2:45 pm

    Sorry – I don’t go for the use of emotion to sweep away real, strategic issues.

    Yes the speeches were moving.

    No this should not be the basis – or justification – for Israeli government policy.

    Olmert and the generals are supposed to be grownups with a longer view and the maturity to tough out painful decisions.

    I AM EVEN LESS inclined to let emotion rule the day as it emerges that Olmert and others knew that both soldiers were dead long ago, based on previously classified forensic analysis of their vehicle and recovered safety vests.

    This entire episode would have been much less costly – both emotionally and politically – if it had been announced long ago that both men were very likely dead.

    Right now I am feeling manipulated and abandoned – and I’m not the only Israeli who feels this way.

  6. Nizo the Palestinian

    7/19/2008 at 2:53 pm

    I’m embarrassed and disgusted by the celebrations in Lebanon.

    Furthermore, I think Israel made an enormous mistake by allowing such a deal.

    You guys really don’t understand the mentality of your neighbors.

  7. themiddle

    7/19/2008 at 3:33 pm

    Well, that’s kind of a good thing. If we could understand a hero’s welcome for a murderer of a 4 year old child, or a hero’s worship for the man who brought upon S. Lebanon the 2006 war with Israel, we’d probably require psychological help.

  8. themiddle

    7/19/2008 at 3:42 pm

    Ben David, newspapers carried the IDF’s assessment that at least one was killed and a good chance the other was also killed in the original Hizbullah attack. This wasn’t a secret or something the government held back. However, despite this, it was obvious that many people believed that at least one of the two was still alive and there wasn’t a conclusive assessment that both were definitely dead.

    We agree it was a lousy deal and a stupid negotiation by Olmert, but this post is about the families.

  9. yoni

    7/19/2008 at 6:22 pm

    I think the body of a soldier and the importance of closer for the families are much more important than strategery (ala George W).

    Israel has the upper hand no matter what, this will only make Israel, and Israelis will stronger and more proud of who they are….. The enemy will always loose because they are valueless.

  10. BrazilianJew

    7/19/2008 at 8:19 pm

    I agree with Yoni. I was angry and felt sick to my stomack the day the deal was made. However, as the days pass I start to feel more and more that it was the only way. Israeli soldiers and their families should feel that the government will do all it can to avoid situations like Ron Arad’s. Now, the focus must turn to Shalit.

  11. themiddle

    7/20/2008 at 3:36 am

    An interesting and positive spin on the exchange in Ha’aretz.

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1003490.html

  12. Ben-David

    7/20/2008 at 3:16 pm

    Middle – if one was certainly killed in the initial attack, that means Jesse Jackson lied when he reported meeting the soldiers…

  13. themiddle

    7/20/2008 at 3:27 pm

    When did he report this?

  14. yoni

    7/20/2008 at 7:37 pm

    I don’t remember Jackson meeting the soldiers, and if Israel had any proof that these soldiers were killed while in custody of Hezbollah, I am sure heads would be rolling all the way to Beirut.

  15. Ben-David

    7/21/2008 at 3:22 am

    yoni:
    if Israel had any proof that these soldiers were killed while in custody of Hezbollah, I am sure heads would be rolling all the way to Beirut.
    – – – – – – – – – – –

    … hey yoni, ever hear of this guy called Ehud Olmert?

    sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    Regarding Jesse:

    Rev. Jesse Jackson, acting as an independent envoy, along with the Red Cross and the UN, all confirmed that Israeli POW’s Regev and Goldwasser were alive.

    Full story here (and elsewhere):
    http://web.israelinsider.com/Articles/Security/12984.htm

  16. Pingback: Ehud Goldwasser Z”L - Eldad Regev Z”L « Revista STAM!

  17. Pingback: Emotional discussions over returned soldiers’ bodies continues to reverberate « Shalom Hartman Institute

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