It’s funny how you have sons who are soldiers and yet you don’t think of them as “THE” soldier. For me, “THE” soldier is one of Elie’s commanding officers who is or will likely be a career officer. His sense of leadership is amazing. The way he took care of his troops in Gaza was amazing. His personal history is amazing.
I know that he served in Lebanon and it had a profound impact on him. I know that he saw Gaza as a chance to right the wrongs of Lebanon – to prove that Israel’s army could fight and win a war, and do it properly. His eyes have seen so much more than I would ever want my sons’ eyes to see.
And through it all, as Elie often tells me, there is humor and life. Elie was blessed with three incredible commanding officers. The first was Or, who simply led Elie through the early phases of the army. The other two I never met and yet I will forever think of the contributions they made to Elie’s personality, beliefs, strengths.
I wrote the story of K. and the coffee here, of K. on the PaintBall field after the Gaza War here. Both are funny stories that show you the man, the officer, and a bit about the Israeli army (please take the time to read them – you’ll get a smile for sure).
Here’s another one Elie told me about yesterday. When they were stationed on the Syrian border during a particularly tense period. K. told Elie, “If you see one Syrian on the border, call me. If you see two, wake me up.”
Elie wrote to him yesterday as Israel’s borders again came under attack and hundreds of Syrians descended on the border. The fact that Syria paid them $1,000 each (the equivalent of 5 months average salary) and $10,000 to families of those who were shot and killed is an appalling fact. But for now, I’ll stick to Elie and his comment. He wrote to K. “I see 500 on the border, should I wake you up?”
Even though Elie’s out of the army, the connection remains. K. answered him, “Meet me in the Command vehicle. Yalla, let’s go.”