Today marks the observance of Yom Hazikaron. Sirens went off last night and will sound again this morning, with memorial services taking place around the country.
Ynet interviewed Harriet Levin, an American whose son Michael was killed in the Second Lebanon War:
“Since his birth, I knew he would come to Israel and enlist in the IDF,” she said. “It was his dream, and every visit to Israel just made it stronger.” During 2001, at the height of the Intifada, he studied in Israel for several months. After witnessing the security situation, he determined not only to enlist, but to go to a combat unit.
Michael Levin followed his dream, enlisted and joined the paratroopers. When the Second Lebanon War broke out, he was visiting family in Philadelphia. He packed his bags and told his family, “I have to go back.”
“After the war, we were told that he was originally assigned to guard in Hebron during the war, but he insisted on joining the fighting, even though the IDF prefers not to send lone soldiers (those with no family in Israel) to the front line,” Harriet said.
Before he left, Michael was resolute in talking to his father about what would happen if he didn’t make it back from the war. He said he wanted to be buried at the military cemetery on Mount Herzl.
When the family took him to the airport, his twin sister, Dara, said she knew at that moment that it would be the last time she would see him.
She missed his last phone call and only heard his voicemail saying, “it’s crazy what’s happening here, it’s just hell. We’ll talk when it’s over.” They never got to.
May Michael’s memory, and the memory of all who have given their lives to defend Israel, be for a blessing.
Hat tip: Hadassah Levy