Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Dear Readers, I've just taken one of the best trips of my life! I'd been to Israel
a few times in the past, but then had many other places I wanted to see. And to be honest, I was a little afraid to go due to the threats of terrorism.
Boy was I wrong!
I went with a group called The Friends of the Israel Defense Force. It helps the soldiers in various ways and it was the most well run, exciting, fabulous experience I ever could have wanted.
(THIS IS NOT POLITICAL...THIS IS ABOUT THE KIDS...JUST LIKE YOUR KIDS.)
Sometimes when you go with groups, as I do, you get a nice group but a badly run tour, or the opposite. Well this had everything!
Super planning with incredible stops at army, navy, airforce bases and real quality time with the kids. An interim two days at a spa...soldiers and massages..what could be better?? Plus all the usual historic and fascinating tourist stops that people of any faith can appreciate.
And as for danger...nothing! I felt as safe walking the streets as I do in NY...maybe safer.
In Israel, this tiny country, everyone is compelled to serve for 3 years when they become eighteen. Boys and GIRLS! The girls do a lot of specific interesting work at the screens looking for infiltrators across the borders and most of the air controllers are women too.Therefore, everyone is in the same boat and the kids are extremely mature and given incredible responsibility for the safety of their country.
(I feel that most of us in America don't give enough attention or support to our
brave girls and boys who volunteer.Plus they are sent far away and are really on their own.We could learn something from the Israelis in this regard to their kids.)
In Israel, everyone knows everyone...you can drive the country in a few hours...and
therefore the kids are everyone's kids..and they are given great respect, care and
I have a couple of American friends there whose kids are in the service and they told me one night a son was on guard duty and his walkie talkie failed. So he called his Dad on the cell phone and they "kept him company" all night!Amazing. I can't imagine how difficult it is for the parents...anywhere.
But in Israel they are guarding and fighting in their own neighborhoods. They are
faced with a stress level that is awesome and they are patriotic in a way that is
Another guy on the trip and I decided to become "parents" by adopting a soldier and sending him to college. The kids who are not financially equipped in Israel can't all get GI Bill type help, their resources aren't enough,so organizations like Friends of the IDF step in and help. And the kids are asked to do 130 hours of community service as well as serve in the military!
I cant wait to get the photo of my soldier/student and look forward to returning next year and meeting him in person.
I'm attaching a link that will show my trip and me...with some of the these kids.