We may have disagreed yesterday, we may disagree tomorrow, but TODAY let’s put our differences aside and become ONE in our support of Israel and our soldiers.
(The following letter by Leibel Mangel was co-signed by fellow American lone soldiers in the IDF.)
We write to you as current and discharged lone soldiers from the Cincinnati area. The time we have spent in our homeland, living and defending the Jewish nation, has further increased our sense of community and strengthened our ties to our roots. It is time for the Jewish people as a whole, to feel those same ties to our homeland and to our people.
There have been many anti-Israel demonstrations throughout our country. On many occasions, it has been requested that there be no organized or unorganized Jewish presence at these events.
From those of us who have risked our lives for Israel and the Jewish nation we can tell you with utmost certainty, the battles that are faced in America and in Europe are just as, if not more important as, the battles faced by the brave men and women of the IDF. We cannot leave our soldiers out to dry. We respect the security concerns that one may have about confronting these individuals. However, what message are we sending by remaining silent and allowing lies to influence the opinion of those around us? What message are we sending by taking a back seat while others stand up and fill our cities with hatred?
The soldiers in the IDF face off against the result of hatred every single day. This is that same exact hatred. Their fight is our fight. We must have their backs. We must not allow the lies, incitement, and hatred to spread. Furthermore, let’s not wait for an anti-Israel event for us to speak up. Let’s take a more proactive approach. Let’s organize a pro-Israel rally downtown, or even just in the local JCC. Let’s have teaching days, so that we can educate all those in your cities about the reality of the situation in Israel. In our schools, synagogues, and our campuses – the truth must be known. Let’s recognize and celebrate those from our communities that have and are enlisted in the IDF. They put their lives on the line every single day for us. Let’s show them our appreciation.
It is not about us per say, but about the next teen who might consider enlisting in the IDF because our communities have taught him or her the value of defending our nation.
Sadly, the list of things that divide our Jewish communities is a lengthy one. Today more than ever, there is large division among our Jewish communities. If nothing else, let Israel be the one thing that unifies us. Let our support for the IDF bring us together. We may have disagreed yesterday, we may disagree tomorrow, but TODAY let’s put our differences aside and become ONE in our support of Israel and our soldiers.
The time for talk has passed. It is time for action. It is time to lock arms and show the world what Jewish strength is all about. One of the last conversations I (Leibel) had with my friend before he was killed during Operation Protective Edge was about this exact topic. The importance of Americans coming over to join the IDF. The impact it has when we see and hear how Jews from around the world support us. How it lifts our spirits when we receive care packages from Jewish communities overseas.
IDF Fights for Jews Around the World
The IDF isn’t just an Israeli army, the IDF fights for Jews all around the world. The IDF makes sure that ‘never again” means NEVER AGAIN. President Kennedy said, “Let us make it clear that we will never turn our backs on our steadfast friends in Israel.” Israel needs us now more than ever. Let’s ensure that our brothers and sisters back home know for certain that we diaspora Jews will never forget them.
Sergeant LeibeI Mangel, former machine gunner in the Kfir Brigade; Sergeant first class Shai Idelman, former squad leader in the Nachal Brigade; Sergeant Ezra Lavenda, former combat soldier in Lotar Brigade; Sergeant Ben Barnett, former combat soldier and paratrooper; Corporal Ethan Padnos, machine gunner in the Nachal Brigade; and Sergeant First Class Jonathan Berman, combat soldier in the Nachal Brigade.