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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Daughter Goes to the Army

Our house has grown quiet: On Monday, my daughter and I rose early and drove to the gathering point, where she and other young women of her age boarded a bus and were taken to IDF bases for basic training. In this age of cellular telephones, we have since heard from her several times, and she is slowly adapting to a world of discipline and routine, which will not be easy for a free spirit like my daughter, whose name means "wild" (as in "wild flower") in Hebrew. But notwithstanding the difficulty, she will manage, and if the army succeeds in harnessing her energy, I'm hoping to witness a win-win situation.

She is entering the IDF at a time when Israel is facing an existential threat, different but no less dangerous than that which it experienced in 1948, 1967 and 1973. I recently traveled to the north and the south, and notwithstanding the apparent calm on the borders, a storm is brewing. Depite UN Security Council Resolution 1701, Hezbollah has been armed by Iran and Syria with more than 40,000 missiles housed in villages throughout Lebanon, including areas patroled by UNIFIL. In Gaza, Hamas has been provided by Iran with Fajr-5 missiles, easily capable of reaching Tel Aviv.

When will the fighting erupt? Answer: When Ahmadinejad presses the button, which could be provoked by political turmoil within Iran and a consequent attempt to distract the populace. In addition, the timing of the deployment of Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system, currently scheduled for November, could factor into any Iranian decision.

How do people in Israel go about their lives with this overhanging cloud? Of course, there are those who are unaware of the severity of the problem; however, I think Israel's functionality stems more from familiarity with past crises and a spontanteous ability to cope with such threats. The missile fire from Iraq on Tel Aviv in 1991 is not such a distant memory.

Throughout the day, I will think of our middle child, "deprived" of Facebook and her music, mustering the strength to cope with new psychological and physical challenges in the heat of summer. Basic training will pass a day at a time for her, as it did for her older brother, now a reservist.

Our love, hope and prayers go out to you, my daughter.


  1. Thinking of you too,Barr.
    Uncle Cameron

  2. Hope, everything will go well with Israel and your daughter!

    How did she feel going to the army?

    You write about her name. Is this a popular girl's name in Israel?

  3. Uncle Cameron, thanks! I will pass the message on to her.

    Thank you, too, Marina! Induction into the army is exciting, but also stressful: to be separated from your family and friends for the first time.

    "Barr" is popular in Israel today, and this is both a girl's and boy's name (I am trying to think whether there are also such names for both girls and boys in the US). More than 20 years ago, I don't remember anyone with this name, when many names were still biblical or derived from animals and trees, such as Dov (bear), Zeev (wolf), Zvi/Zviya (deer), Yael (ibex), Tsipora (bird), Oren (oak).

  4. Dear Barr,

    H. and I are both thinking of you...