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Sending Our Son to the I.D.F.

Sending Our Son to the I.D.F.

Emotions run high as one Israeli family sends their first-born son off to the army.


On the evenings before a young man goes into the Israel Defense Forces, the IDF, neither he nor his parents sleep much.

The soon-to-be IDF inductee parties with his friends. The parents also do not sleep -- out of worry, fear and apprehension.

This week, on Monday, we accompanied our first-born son, Noam, to the IDF army recruitment center in Jerusalem, where he was inducted into an IDF combat unit, with three months of basic training lying ahead of him.

Noam, 19, was named after a soldier, Noam Yehuda, who was born in Philadelphia, grew up in Safed, and was killed by a PLO missile at the age of 19 during the Lebanon War in 1982.

Arafat and his terrorists had set up a worldwide terrorist organization from his base in Lebanon, responsible for the murders of hundreds of Jews and Israelis throughout the world.

The irony is that 19 years later, the enemy is the same.

The irony is that for our own Noam, 19 years later, the enemy is the same. An enemy who had duped the world to such an extent that he received the Nobel Peace Prize! An enemy who was invited by the Israeli government to return from exile in Tunis, given arms by the IDF, and who turned the tables to set up cities of refuge for his "troops" to again launch attacks against Israelis.

A few nights ago, we watched the evening news with Noam. Thousands of Arab rioters were shooting guns wildly in the air, as they ran through the streets precariously toting the teetering body of yet another shahid ("holy martyr"), a title given to terrorists who blow up themselves along with innocent Israeli civilians for the "Glory of Palestine."

Noam's comment: "Well, wish me luck! I'm going to be in a war."


When you take your son on that proverbial ride to the draft induction point, his entire life flashes in front of you.

All those special moments are quashed into those 25 minutes of negotiating Jerusalem rush hour traffic. His moment of birth. His Bris Milah. His first steps. His first day of school. His performance in the local singing group and how he "cut" his first cassette. His bar mitzvah. His going off to yeshiva. His summer of work with Downs Syndrome children. And his resounding Shabbat meal send-off with his friends, when they sang at the top of their lungs from Psalms to punk rock.

Watching our son joke with friends while waiting to be called to get on the bus, our hearts swelled with pride at this wholesome, fine son of ours who was eager to serve his country despite the gruesome predicament the country is in right now.

Unlike most Israelis, Noam holds an American passport. He could easily skip the country without too much difficulty and attend university in the U.S. However, he chose to stay and serve.

Going to all these funerals has made me aware of how I must protect the people of Israel.

This past year has been one of reflection for Noam. He was glad to have made the decision not to go straight into the army following graduation from high school. Instead he chose a yeshiva preparation program, with a curriculum that readies yeshiva students for army service through deep philosophical discussions, along with physical education to prepare him for rigorous army training.

It has also been a year of funerals. Too many funerals. After returning from the funeral of our daughter's 20-year-old youth counselor, who had been shot dead in a drive-by shooting, Noam declared: "Now I know why I am going into the army. Going to all these funerals has made me aware of how I must protect the people of Israel."

After a few minutes wait at the induction center, Noam's name was called out. The time had come to part. We hand over to the IDF a wholesome, happy, wonderful son. Noam stretched out his arms and held each of us in a tight embrace. The lump in our throats choked back the words we had each planned to say. All we could manage was: "Stay safe, and may God be with you."

Please God, we pray, return our dear son to us unharmed, safe and sound.

August 18, 2001

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Visitor Comments: 34

(33) Anonymous, December 3, 2012 3:44 PM

My heart is with you!

My son has served in a combat unit for three years! During that time he has been through a lot-most notably the recent battle in Gaza. As his service nears the end, I can only tell you that we are prouder than ever of the person our son has become, and of all the values he has gained by being part of the IDF. May Hashem guard and protect all of our children who are protecting their country through being in the army or through their dedicated Torah learning! May we soon see no more need for any war anywhere in the world!

Tzippy, January 25, 2013 12:25 AM

Our son is also finishing three productive years as a combat soldier. We sent in a boy and he has returned as a strong leader. We couldn't be prouder!!!

(32) Dylan Riback, November 2, 2009 6:14 AM

I too will fight with your son one day.

I am a Jewish American form NJ, attending Florida Atlantic University, studying business. I was in Israel three times, and since my last visit I haven't felt as alive as I used to. Next semester I will study Hebrew and so one day I can enlist in the IDF and sever my people and my holy land. If my generation continues to ignore radical Islam by partying and going on Facebook 24/7, then Radical Islam I 100% beleive will be the next Holocaust and Nazism. I find your sons actions most honorable, and I would prefer to die with heroes like him, rather than Israelis that half-bake their service. It's time for the diaspora Jews to leave their homes, and fight to protect ourselves like our ancestors have!

(31) amir, April 18, 2007 7:19 PM

will never forget that day

i dont know how i ended up here, i'm an israeli that live in nyc for 20 years. noam yehuda was my friend from the day we were i met him in the army. we did basic training together. and then we served at 605 together till his last day. if you intrested i still have some pictures from the war he is in some of them....

(30) zamyrabyrd, January 17, 2003 12:00 AM

all too visible refusniks

More articles like this one should be written and widely publicized if only to counter the all too visible Israeli army dropouts who help to ruin Israel's image abroad by parading their self-righteousness in news articles outside the country. Those who gain public worldwide sympathy do so at the expense of those actively serving. The rest of the world eats up news of Israelis protesting the actions of their own army. Whatever bad consciences former colonialists may have tried to suppress, like Britain or Japan, they can all feel relieved when they read that Israel is just as bad as they were or even worse.

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