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August 30, 1991 - Image 31

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-08-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Soldiers looking into the Arab village of Nablus.

A Soldier's Story

Israel Defense Force soldiers
discuss their ideas for the peace process.

Carthy and Edward Tracy, a
native of Vermont, U.S. offi-
cials have pressured Israel
to unilaterally release some
of the Lebanese Shi'ites it is
holding in prison for security
reasons.

AMY J. MEHLER

Staff Writer

Z

vulun Hadad knew
what to do if he was
captured his first
day in the Israel
Defense Forces.
Rules for survival are outlin-
ed in a handbook, the Pinkas
Shevi.
Pinkasim include names,
ranks, personal identifica-
tion numbers and blood
types.
"That's all you're allowed
to tell them," said Mr.
Hadad, a reservist in Israel's
cheyl ha'avir, air force.
"More than that, you can't
open your mouth."
Mr. Hadad, 24, said he
didn't worry about being
taken hostage while in the
army.
"It doesn't happen very
often because it really
depends on where you

Zvulun Hadad: "We don't
abandon a wounded soldier on
the field of battle."

serve," said Mr. Hadad, who
married a Detroiter and now
lives in Southfield. "Soldiers
who guard Israel's borders
are potentially at greater
risk."
Since news of the release of
British hostagb John Mc-

Israel has stood by its offer
to enter negotiations for a
prisoner swap, but the
government is insisting that
such a deal must include
either the release of seven
Israeli soldiers missing in
Lebanon or a ftill accounting
of what happened to them.
Israeli Prime Minister
Yitzchak Shamir has
pointed to the speedy
freedom of Jerome Leyraud,
a French medical worker
held three days this
summer, as proof that Syria
and Iran have the power to
release all hostages held in
Lebanon.
Mr. Hadad said it is IDF
policy not to rest until every

one of its soldiers is return-
ed.
"We follow a simple motto
in the army," Mr. Hadad
said. "Ein ozvim chayal pat-
sua ba'shetach — we don't
abandon a wounded soldier
on the field of battle. And if
you are taken hostage, Israel
will do its best to get you
back — dead or alive. You
know this with your whole
heart. Even if it takes
years."
Mr. Hadad said
Westerners and even
Israelis don't realize how
much is done to free Israeli
prisoners of war. He said
much of the work takes place
behind the scenes.
"The government is
just quiet about what it does
to get back its soldiers. Peo-
ple are deliberately kept in
the dark. Sometimes it's
safer that way."
Mr. Hadad remembers
hearing little about what
was done to release one of
his air force commanders
captured in 1973.
"He was a pilot taken by
Syria or Egypt," Mr. Hadad
said. "I was told he had a
wife and kids. He never
talked about it (capture and
repatriation), but we (air
force cadets) could see the
scars on his face. He had
these wide spaces between
the hairs on his head. It
looked as though they had
been yanked or burned out."
Despite his commander's
safe return, Mr. Hadad
doesn't believe the Israeli
government should
negotiate the release of
Western hostages without
first securing the release of
Israel's missing in action
and POWs.
"Israel has the first
responsibility to its soldiers
and to its families," he said.
"If the government finds a
way to get its seven POWs
back that demands the
release of 400 Arab ter-
rorists — fine. But to
pressure Israel into helping
release the other Western
hostages for Palestinians, I
don't see the point."
"When a close friend or a
member of your family is
taken hostage, you don't
care about anything except
getting your friend, or
brother or sister back," Mr.
Hadad said. "Israel is one
big family. Everybody feels
the pain of those families as
if it were their own.
"Ideally, life should be
more important than any
principle of non-negotiation.
But Israel has to consider its
security."

A Fantasy World

Rachelle Lichtenstein, 27,
said the hardest thing to do
in the Israeli army is face
the death of a fellow soldier.
Mrs. Lichtenstein, raised
in Oak Park, was a chayelet,
a female soldier, from 1982
to 1984. One of her last jobs
was taking care of wounded
soldiers at an army clinic in
Tel Aviv.
"Once, a chayal, who'd lost
an arm, was wheeled in and
was so badly burned, I
vomited," said Mrs.
Lichtenstein, who was born
in Israel.

Rachelle Lichtenstein: "The
Arabs aren't going to stop until
they get what they want."

Mrs. Lichtenstein and her
husband, Moshe, a Califor-
nia native, left Israel in
April and now live in
Southfield. Two weeks ago,
Mrs. Lichtenstein gave birth
to her second son.
"Violence against Israelis
and chayalim occurs more
often than the Western
media reports it," Mrs.
Lichtenstein said. "There
are daily murders, kidnapp-
ings and molestations that
continually go unnoticed."
Mrs. Lichtenstein said
Arab terrorists have been
known to dress like
Chasidim and knock on the
doors of homes in Har Nof, a
Jertitsalem neighborhood.
"I don't think these kinds
of actions will stop just be-
cause of a possible Middle
East peace conference," she
said. "I think it's blowing a
lot of hot air into the wind."
Israel has practically
agreed to participate in a
peace conference set for
some time in October. In an
unprecedented move, Jordan
joined Syria, Lebanon,
Egypt and Saudi Arabia in

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

31

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