Several years ago I was traveling to the States for a speaking engagement/fundraiser for the IDF. I was flying from NY to Boston and on the plane I was seated next to a middle-aged woman. I guess she took notice that I was reading a Hebrew book and asked if I was Jewish. I smiled and answered with a warm yes and she followed up with a “So, where are you from?” I smiled again and answered, “Israel”. That is when our conversation took a sour turn. Her warm smile turned into a frown as she explained that she too is Jewish but will go nowhere near Israel. I figured it was the security situation that she was scared of, so I assured her that the situation is not as bad as CNN might make it look.
BOY WAS I WRONG!
She was not worried about the security situation even in the slightest bit. She looked me straight in the eye and asked, how I can live in a country where the military targets children and murders innocent people for the sake of murdering?
I took a VERY deep breath and before answering I asked her once again if she ever actually visited Israel. She answered with a quick no and that’s when I let loose. When I told her that she happens to be sitting next to an active IDF sergeant who served in Lebanon, Jenin, Gaza and across every centimeter of the West Bank her facial expression was priceless!
You Criticize The IDF? What Would You Do?
Susan (my flight friend’s name) gave me a stern look and asked me how I sleep at night.
This is how the conversation continued.
“Ya know what Susan, you’re right! So let me give you a scenario and YOU tell me what you would have done. You are stationed in a base bordering Gaza, your mission is to stop any terrorist activity and to halt any possible terrorist infiltration into Israel.
There is a 200 meter buffer zone which is a military closed zone. Just a week ago two Islamic terrorists with knapsacks entered the zone and when the IDF tried to stop them, they detonated the bomb that was in their knapsacks.
The 200 meter zone is a kill zone; no one is allowed in that zone and anyone who enters and does not heed IDF orders is deemed to be a terrorist threat.
You start your shift and the orders are simple: if anyone enters the buffer zone you warn them to stop, if they ignore the orders you fire warning shots in the air and if again they ignore the order, you shoot the legs. If there is imminent danger of a suicide bomber, you shoot to kill.
If a terrorist detonates a bomb 200 meters out you might be injured by shrapnel, 150 meters you can get killed by flying shrapnel, 100 meters you lose your arms, 70 your legs, 60 and closer you DIE!
Five minutes into your shift you see an Arab shepherd and his young son walking 50 sheep and they enter the buffer zone at 200 meters, what do you do?
Susan thought for a second and responded with, “yell at them and tell them this is a military zone.”
“That was a great idea, Susan and that’s exactly what we did. The son who must have been no older than 15 gave us the finger, screamed ALLAH AKHBAR (God is great in Arabic, usually used for war cries) and continued walking towards us, deeper into the buffer zone – what do you do? They are now 170 meters away, if either of them have terrorist intentions you are already in danger!
Susan thought for another second and only when I reminded her that they are now 150 meters away did she respond with, “Shoot warning shots in the air”.
“That was another great idea, Susan and it is exactly what we did. The son then picked up his shirt and tapped his chest as if to say SHOOT ME and then once again shouted ALLAH AKHBAR and continued walking directly at us.
They are now 100 meters away, WHAT DO YOU DO, SUSAN?”
As Susan was scratching her head I raised my voice and said,
“THEY ARE 90 METERS AWAY! THERE GO YOUR ARMS!”
Susan was getting a little uncomfortable and then I raised my voice again and said,
“THEY ARE NOW 70 METERS AWAY and SCREAMING,“DEATH TO JEWS!”
YOU JUST LOST YOUR LEGS, SUSAN, WHAT DO YOU DO?”
Susan feeling the pressure said “Order them to stop!”
“Susan, you already did that, they are now 60 meters from you, what do you do?
If they blow up, YOU’RE DEAD! 50, 40 30” . . .
Susan was actually becoming very anxious and then jumped when I screamed,
“BOOM! You and your team are dead! Good job, Susan!”
Susan sat there quietly for a couple of seconds and then turned to me and asked if this really happened. I smiled and said yes, it happened to my unit in 2004. Then came the question, “What did you do?” she asked. It was the first time that Susan did not assume she knew what we in the IDF did and actually wanted to know the truth.
“What Did We Do, Susan? When the two came within 150 meters we warned them that if they do not stop we will be forced to shoot. When the boy picked up his shirt, my commander aimed his gun, aimed for the head OF ONE OF THE SHEEP and fired! The Arab boy took the sheep over his shoulders and they both backed out of the buffer zone.”
Susan smiled as if to give me her approval and said that was a very smart thing to do. This time I was looking Susan straight in the eyes and explained that the next morning there were pictures all over the web of a dead sheep with headlines “IDF soldiers shoot sheep of peaceful Arab Shepherds!”
That was the end of our conversation. I am not sure if Susan changed her opinion about Israel but at least she received a small reality check. Israeli checkpoints are not in place in order to make life difficult for anyone. Checkpoints are a result of 66 years of Islamic terror that has no boundaries. My unit has caught children as young as 11 years old who were carrying homemade bombs in their knapsack. Not once and not twice have we encountered elderly Arabs sitting on the porch of a house, knowing that inside they are hiding Islamic terrorists.
Wouldn’t it be nice if security checkpoints weren’t necessary in Israel or in the airport or anywhere else in the world? Wouldn’t a world without terrorism be nice?
The Muslim terrorists bank on our compassion and there are no limits to their audacity. Children are educated from a very young age that murder and terrorism is the way of Allah. This is a program that played on Palestine public TV. Notice how they are not talking about Zionists but ALL Jews!
Some say the terrorism in Israel is due to the poor treatment of Arabs. How then can you explain why this woman who was treated and saved in Israeli hospitals attempted to come back to blow up the exact hospital that saved her life?!
The IDF does everything in it’s power to protect innocent people on both sides. NEVER has the IDF targeted or desired to injure or kill innocent people. We often put ourselves in danger so that innocent bystanders are not caught in the crossfire. The IDF has called off operations and air strikes due to civilian population in the area but when our enemy uses their civilians as PR pawns it is practically impossible for there to be no civilian casualties.
Why do IDF soldiers HATE checkpoints?
Because we are sitting ducks and no matter how hard we try, people like Susan will blame us for being cautious when it comes to Islamic terror!
We will continue to defend Israel from those that seek our destruction and we will continue to uphold the highest moral standing that an army has ever upheld!
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