The thing about living in a relatively small town or village is that after a while, you pretty much know everyone. For the good and for the bad. For more than two years now, Elie has been in the army – the army, at least artillery, works in units. Small units, which are grouped together under a single commander. That unit is grouped with several others, each having their commander. Those commanders report to another officer. Several of those officers report to a higher level and on and on. It’s the nature of the military, here and around the world.
Bat Ayin is a tiny little village of slightly over 1,000 people. This morning, an Arab terrorist entered the small village and attacked two boys with an axe. There is chaos in the news reports. Some say one boy was 16 and one 7; another says the older child was only 13. By all accounts, he died this morning.
My phone has sent me a message saying that the 7-year-old has died; someone else sent me a message asking for prayer for Yair Tuvia ben Michal, who is seriously wounded. By all accounts, the terrorist succeeded in escaping.
In the first group that Elie was given to command, there is a soldier from Bat Ayin. What are the chances that Elie’s soldier doesn’t know these families, these children? The answer is likely very small. I tried to call Elie, but he doesn’t answer. What would I tell him anyway? By now, I’m sure the boy knows and has hopefully spoken to his family.
This is the second time I have had to call him about bad news. The last time was after he’d been in the army about 6 months and a good friend of his was in a terrible car accident and was seriously injured. The army was amazing when this happened. Elie was told to go off-duty, rest and find out what was happening. Friends from all over the country called him, each trying to find out if the other knew something more.
It’s a frantic attempt to get whatever knowledge is possible, as fast as possible. It doesn’t change the outcome, but it makes you feel like you are at least doing something. A seven year old boy is fighting for his life. Seven year olds shouldn’t have to fight for their lives. It is, seemingly, a never ending reality we live with here.
And as I try to continue with my day and catch glimpses of the news reports, another thought comes into my mind. What kind of man sneaks into a village and attacks a child with an axe? What sickness is there in his mind and soul that allows him to think this is the right thing to do? And why kind of a sick nation would they build if they were ever given the chance to actually build a country…if murdering children is holy, if fighting a 14-year old is sacred, if it is honorable to leave a 7-year-old fighting for his life.
Shlomo Nativ, of blessed memory, will be buried today at 5pm. He was 14 years old. May God send comfort to the family of the child murdered today and may He avenge his blood. May God protect Yair Tuvia ben Michal and all our children, our sons and our daughters. And
may Elie find a way to comfort his soldier, who will go home in just a few days, to a village in mourning.