Elie went off today to his modified miluim (Reserves Duty). Modified because the army needed him for this upcoming training and Elie couldn’t miss three weeks of a course he is taking, which finished just days before a huge test. The army has the legal right to force Elie to miss the course…and spend the next year of his life twiddling his thumbs until the next time the test comes around.
It was strange to see Elie back in uniform. It fits him so well, this green uniform with the cellular phone attached to the belt. The uniform was a new one he got a few months before leaving the army – which he did not wear. At first, I thought it was perhaps the dress uniforms until I realized it was simply new – like this experience.
Elie is driving my car down to the base – far from here. Far from the realities of our everyday life. Back in uniform – only for a short time and yet it fits him, his life, his style. A new phase, a new uniform. I’m not really nervous – for the next few days anyway, Elie won’t even be shooting (I think). A new concept I have learned since Elie left the army – it is all “I think.”
Elie laughs now, “sure, I was on base.”
But you told me you were there, I would say to him.He didn’t want to lie, but I pushed him into a corner asking him if he was on base and going to sleep in the late evening that we had a conversation. Most of those calls he made to me. It makes me wonder why he called me if he was going out on an operation and how many mothers had conversations like that and then were asked, when was the last time you spoke to him.
I am so grateful that there has never been a “last time” and I pray with all that I am that there never will be. What I think is that this is a walk in the park, an easy few days out in the desert with men who will become friends. What I think is that there is a whole new world, but one infinitely familiar to Elie.
No, this is nothing like the first time he went off into the unknown. I didn’t know, that first day, when I would speak to him – though it was only hours later. I didn’t know where they would take him – now I know where the base is, where he will park the car he is taking.
The first time, I felt that in some way, I was entering this new world with him. Now, I have the peace in my heart to let him go, to watch him go, and know that the army has the same interest that I do – to see my son in, to see my son do, to see my son leave and come back home safely.
Today, two of my sons wear the uniform of the State of Israel. There is such pride in that. No, I do not want war. I do not want my sons to fight. I do not worship death nor do I wish to occupy anyone. I want peace more than anyone on earth – at this moment and all moments. How do I know – because at this moment, I have two sons wearing the uniform of Israel and because I love my sons.
It really is as simple as that. I’ll put aside the question of border and settlements, of terror and martyrdom. I’ll put aside the question of politics and diplomacy. It really all comes down to this simple reality. My sons wear the uniform because of the reality of what we live with here. One can argue our right to this land – but that would be dumb. Seriously dumb.
We have the oldest and most well publicized land deed in the history of mankind. In how many places does the Bible promise this land to the Jews? Today, as Elie drives south, he passes near or through Jerusalem – mentioned in the Bible, and Hebron, where Abraham bought land for the burial plots of the patriarchs, and Beersheva, and so many other places.
As often happens, I’ve gotten a bit off the starting point – I guess the start and finish here is really simple – Elie is back in uniform…temporarily…but there none the less.