Yom Hazikaron - two wars we are winning
Today is Yom HaZikaron, where Israel remembers all of the brave men and women of the Israeli Defense Forces who gave their lives defending the people, land, and Torah of the great and divine Nation of Israel. The IDF is as highly professional, civilized, skilled, ethical, and humanitarian as an army comes, and they fight on the clearest of front lines between good and evil.
The above was written by my good friend Jason Pearlman. Throughout the day I've been hearing similar statements of remembrance and pride. What caught my eye about his comments was his closing note "the clearest of front lines between good and evil". In thinking about it, I'm not sure that is right. War never has "clear front lines between good and evil". That is a large part of the struggle. To kill and yet keep your humanity. To be compassionate while still being guarded.
I am bothered by people who in looking to make liberaler-than-thou statements go out of their way to find the photo shoot or the news story of the IDF soldier beating up an old man or keeping an ambulance from crossing a checkpoint. They are seeing the exceptions and they think that it is the rule.
In a similar fashion I am bothered by those who think that the wars we fight are cut and dry. That we are obviously right and the Arabs are obviously wrong. All Arabs are terrorists who will kill you if only given the chance and every action done for the cause of securing our claim to the land is a just one. Life doesn't work that way. We all know this from our own lives - why is war any different?
Part of what makes the IDF great is that they fight the fights anyway. Both fights. They fight for safety and survival and they fight to raise up banner of compassion and morality. In my service I have seen so many times and places where soldiers, officers, and army policy struggle with the dilemmas of how to keep people safe and maintain the highest moral standards. It doesn't always work and we don't win every battle. But fighting those fights, to my mind, shows the beauty of Am Yisrael and it's army.