Entry 2: Danny’s Letter

In the early stages of my decision to make Aliyah after college I was less sure than I am today of why I wanted to enlist in the IDF. I wrote a letter to Danny expressing some of the concerns  I had and the criticism voiced by people who continually insisted that I would go further as an activist than as a fighter.

The following letter was Danny’s response:

You want to know where you would “be doing the most good”. I think you are asking yourself the wrong question. The fact is this country needs fighters. Do you want to be one of them? It is easy to sit in America and go to conference after conference and talk about how important Israel is. It is easy to pat yourself on the back and say I did my part because I talked some irrelevant student on my campus into liking Israel more than the Palestinians. Conferences are fun (I know I used to go to them all the time). You get drunk with a whole bunch of other young people and love Israel together. The leaders in your community have made a conscious decision to put Israel second. I am not saying they don’t care but they are not living in America for our well being here in Israel. Granted they talk to congress, they talk to the media, and they get America to support Israel. That is all nice, but the simple fact is they are living the good life for themselves not for us.

If you come serve in the army you are rejecting the foundation of their beliefs. The idea of finishing college and becoming a fighter instead of a lobbyist, lawyer, or grad student goes against their happy diaspora Jewish existence. I know why you want to be a fighter. You are a man. Your country is under attack. You feel that you can help us fight the fight.

It pains you to see missiles fall on sderot. You would rather go into Gaza and shoot a gun then lament about how bad things are in Israel while sitting on your sofa in America. You would rather go into Jenin and put the handcuffs on the bomb makers hands than write a letter to your school paper. I know why you want to be a fighter. It is not very complicated. If you really want to do it, then do it. If you want it for the right reasons don’t ever quit or let other people talk you out of it.  Tell your community it is what you have to do. Once you actually do it your community will be behind you 100%. They will raise money for your unit and they will do all they can to live vicariously thru you. The road is long it is hard but it is worth it.

The Gibush (tryout) for tzanchanim is hard, but if you want it then you will do it. All I can say is start running. The hardest thing is learning to run when you can’t walk anymore. But it is all in your head…

I just finished my service last week. As I write these words my mother is sitting behind me. She told me to tell you that your mother will be worried and scared, but at the end of the day you don’t even know how proud of you she will be…



One Response to “Entry 2: Danny’s Letter”

  1. Noah K Says:

    This is inspiring stuff. Though I don’t personally consider myself a follower of Judaism, my dad’s family is entirely Jewish, so I have a soft spot in my heart for Israel. Joining the IDF is admirable, to say the least, but I was particularly inspired by the fact that you’re following your dream, despite the criticisms. It shows us younger guys that we don’t have to take the comfortable, expected path. Can’t wait to hear more about your plans.

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