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Thank You, Hero

Thank You, Hero

Wednesday's hero helped us realize that education to valor is not some kind of old-fashioned luxury, but rather, it's a necessity of life.

by Uri Orbach

On Wednesday we had a chance to see a hero. What is heroism? A pure moment where education, ideals, and mental preparation come together and prompt a person to knowingly risk his life without considering personal benefit.

Wednesday's hero was educated in a family and in a community that does not tell its sons "the most important thing is to protect yourself" when they join the army, but rather, "the most important thing is that you protect your people." The professional ability, the resourcefulness, and the level-headedness are merely a marginal addition to the bravery and aspiration for victory.

The immediate decision to get on the bulldozer, empty handed, is what distinguishes a hero from any other person.

This soldier, riding his bike in the face of a rampaging bulldozer, decided that he is going to stop the terrorist. The immediate decision to get on the bulldozer, empty handed, is what distinguishes a hero from any other person, a civilian who takes responsibility from police officers who scratch their head or fire shots in the air, mostly in order to calm themselves.

Yet this young man, whom all of us saw getting on the bulldozer, pulling out the security guard's gun, and shooting the terrorist was given the run around by IDF authorities up until recently, until they agreed to let him join the army.

When he was a high school student, he misbehaved at some protest during the disengagement, and our army sages debated whether to recruit him, even though he did not agree to apologize for his acts in his meeting with a mental health officer. As if we have a surplus of young men like him.

It is difficult to educate someone to heroism. It is easier to educate people to show helplessness, to learn legal procedures, and to focus on the rights of the terrorist and his family. Yet it is possible to educate young people in an environment that conveys to them that some things are more important than their own life.

We can and should educate young people that when the moment of truth arrives we must defeat the rampaging enemy rather than step back and wait for someone else to do the job. We need to encourage and promote the schools and communities where the phrases "People of Israel" and "Land of Israel" are uttered without disparagement.

Wednesday's soldier helped us realize that education to valor is not some kind of old-fashioned luxury, but rather, it's a necessity of life – even when you're riding your bicycle, on leave from the army. Thank you, hero.

This article originally appeared on

July 5, 2008

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Visitor Comments: 9

(9) Ana McCarthy, July 8, 2008 3:55 AM

Diminish the role of the IDF

I understand the part in which we glorify the "Hero", however I don't understand the demoralization and vilifying of the IDF.

(8) jamie, July 8, 2008 1:07 AM

incredibly inspiring

it's hard to imagine such courage. I wonder what I would have done in that situation

(7) Linda Reinherz, July 7, 2008 7:42 PM

People must speak up!

When my daughter was in 11th grade her history class studied WW2. The textbook made no mention of the Holocaust and Melissa took it as personal crusade to have the Holocaust be a topic of class discussion. She raised the issue several times in class and was told, it wasn't in the book and they were NOT going to discuss it. Our daughter continued her campaign. Her teacher was furious and told us he would fail her if she didn't stop bringing up "this issue." We discussed it at home and we agreed with her that this was a moral issue and she could not back down. Her teacher would not back down or admit he was wrong and gave her an incomplete for the year. She had to repeat junior history again with the same teacher.

Again, our daughter raised the issue of the Holocaust and again her teacher refused to discuss the "issue." When they were asked to report on a WW2 movie Melissa wrote about "Schindler's List." Again, we received a call from the teacher informing us that she would fail the class and not
graduate. Fortunately her 11th grade English teacher was Jewish and talked to her. He told her she had all she could have done and some people chose not to believe the Holocaust happened and she was better to be out in the world than battling someone who wouldn't listen or believe.

She did graduate and was planning on attending a LDS college (we are Mormons) and she explained to the admittance officer why she had to repeat 11th grade history twice and passed only with a low C. The counselor said any one could pass history but not everyone would make the moral choice to stand up for the truth and she was admitted to college.

Not everyone has the will not to believe.

(6) Orrin Kom, July 7, 2008 2:08 PM

Incitement of the Terrorist

Local reports here suggested that in the days leading up to this attack, the perpetrator was visited by individuals who incited him to do it. It seems unlikely that informants would come forward after the attack with this kind of information, because they would then be incriminating themselves. Does anybody have reliable information on this?

(5) Esther, July 7, 2008 10:33 AM

Perhaps the IDF knew what it was doing!

I'm not going to question the IDF - in itself a strong, honorable institution - for hesitating before letting a disturbed young man join. The Torah tells us to judge favorably, and in this case I'd judge the IDF to be a rational institution. What this young man did was commendable, but perhaps clambering unarmed onto a rampaging tractor was not the best course of action. (The driver was eventually stopped by an anti-terrorist policeman who sped to the scene.) I'm glad this young man had a chance to do something so heroic, but I wouldn't assume that means the IDF doesn't know what it's doing.

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