Was this really me, committing to two weeks in Israel as a volunteer working on an Israel Defense Forces base? Completely out of character, but I was leaving my husband, children, and grandchildren for an experience beyond anything I could have imagined.
Monday was Memorial Day for the fallen – in the Israeli army, in the pre-state undergrounds, and in terrorist attacks. It is the day before Yom Ha’atzma’ut (to emphasize the connection), and is observed through ceremonies in schools and other public institutions, cemetery visits, and speeches by politicians. The sense of loss is immediate and inescapable as there is no one who does not have a connection of family, friendship, work, or neighborhood with at least one of the 23,000 fallen.
My love affair with Israel began in 1972 when I journeyed for the first time with my immediate family. My parents had been for the first time in February of 1968, six months after the Six Day War. We also were there six months before the Yom Kippur War.