Mi K’Amcha Yisroel
“We use weapons to protect our people; they use people to protect their weapons.” So spoke Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month, as the Israeli army began its incursion into Gaza with the goal of destroying the network of tunnels Hamas has constructed in their quest to infiltrate and destroy Israel. Known for his poignant sound bites, the Prime Minister nevertheless fell short of the mark. What the Prime Minister didn’t say, is that Hamas sees its own people as dispensable, and are therefore only too quick to sacrifice them in war; we on the other hand, see our soldiers as indispensable and will do anything and everything we can to keep them out of harm’s way.
Sharing these very sentiments, Israelis from all walks of life shower their soldiers with gifts from the heart in an effort to express their love, support and admiration for them. An article which underscores such sentiments for Israel’s soldiers has been circulating on the internet this past week. Not only does this article show how very special Israel’s soldiers are, it also shows how very special the Israeli public is as well.
Hardly an hour goes by without a car pulling up to the Gaza border where Israeli soldiers prepare to enter the bedlam, where rockets are launched and tunnels are dug into Israel, thereby making daily life unbearable for Israelis of all walks of life. These cars are filled will chilled beverages, snacks, underwear and items of personal hygiene. The arrival of these sundries is neither coordinated nor organized. Nevertheless, they effectively demonstrate the outpouring of love and support of the Israeli people.
Representatives of two Hassidic sects maintain a constant presence at these staging areas. Lubavitch is there to assist soldiers who may wish to don a pair of tefillen (a novel or near novel experience for some) and to provide soldiers with siddurim or booklets of psalms for those who feel that additional fortification can only help. Breslov is there to provide the soldiers with an immediate dose of joy, as they encourage and cajole the soldiers to join them in dance infused with religious fervor. In addition to Lubavitch and Breslov, “Black Hats” mingle with the soldiers, asking them to provide their names as well as the names of their mothers so that entire Yeshivas can pray for their safety and well-being.
The southern Israeli city of Beer Sheva is known for its state of the art medical facility, Soroka Hospital. It is the number one hospital in that region for treating Israeli soldiers as well as civilians who have sustained injuries from our “neighbors” in Gaza. Say what you will about hospital food, but officials at Soroka hospital are adamant that Israeli soldiers deserve the very best. It is for this reason that a Master Chef catering truck is parked at Soroka hospital, so that it can prepare banquet quality food for the injured as they convalesce.
Mi K’Amcha Israel? Who is like Your people Israel? These words are more than a mere excerpt from a (Shabbat Mincha) prayer. Not only do these words reaffirm an army second to none, but they also describe civilians, religious groups as well as institutions that are exemplary in every respect.