My son Asa left home almost three years ago, starting his journey in the army. Yesterday he closed this adventure. He will discharge from the army in the middle of November, but de-facto he is a civilian again, starting his dismissal vacation yesterday. He returned his weapon, his uniform and came back home.
The last three years were not easy. For 18 years we defended him, hardly letting him to cross the road alone. And suddenly he left our safe and warm home for taking part in defending our country and controlling life-and-death of others. Suddenly, without any warning and any preparations, he was pushed into the melting points of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
We watched from a distance how he transformed from a spoiled lazy boy to a charming and attractive grown up. Three years ago he was a teddy bear; today he can be a model on a fashion magazine's cover.
He started the army without any required physical skills, as most of his school years he spent in front of computers. But after half year of intensive training and exercises he lost about 20-30 kgs, discovered his mental and physical strength and even started to enjoy the warrior's life.
Most of his army duty was spent in the occupied territories: more than a year in Gaza Strip (in the isolated settlement of Netzarim) and almost a year in the West Bank, near Jerusalem. He didn't told us everything he and his unit did, but we all knew what kind of job he was doing: babysitting the settlers, watching roads and transportation lines, working at checkpoints, venturing into Palestinian villages for arresting terrorists, patrolling in the dunes and the orchards, shooting here-and-there. In short, participating in a war.
Our terror was two sided: we feared for his safety and at the same time we feared for his soul, hoping he will not be involved in inhuman act, terrorizing innocent civilians. Fortunately he was more babysitter than a fighter, so his contact with the locals were minimal.
Now he is home again, starting a new journey, hopefully less dangerous and more enjoyable.
My dear son, I wish you to find your way, your place and purpose in life. The world is at your hand. You can do whatever you want, you can achieve what ever you dream of. Knowing you, your strength and will, I am sure you will succeed!