from page 31
A MEMBER OF THE
this is a major commitment involving
important years of my life. But I felt it
was the right thing to do. In the current
situation, our country needs everyone,
no matter what job they do in the army.
The main thing is to help."
A Codsin's Advice
Toward the end of the party, Gila asked
for everyone's attention. Among those
who wanted to speak was Elroei's 21-
year-old cousin Lael. Addressing Elroei,
Lael read from a text he prepared for the
"You're about to face the reality of
life," said Lael, who will complete his
military service in July. "You're about to
experience things you've never lived
before. Remember that in every experi-
ence, you get wisdom in return.
"Try to make the best of your army
service and never give up. Go forward
with confidence and the belief that
you're worth a lot more than you realize.
All of these things and more I have
learned in the army."
Elroei seemed to take it all in his
stride. His father was more choked up.
Itzik was emotional and visibly proud of
his son preparing for this rite of passage.
"This is basically a happy moment,"
says Itzik. "It's a huge milestone, like a
bar mitzvah or graduation. It's positive
to see your children grow up. And noth-
ing helps them mature more than serv-
ing in the army. They go in still almost
children but come out two or three years
later much stronger and wiser people
better equipped to deal with life."
On the way home, I thought about
my own son Etye who is now 11. I shiv-
ered at the prospect of his induction into
the IDF seven years from now Rather
than consider Etye's induction party, I
preferred to think of his "misibat
shichrur"(literally, "release party"),
another army-related tradition in Israel.
It celebrates the safe return home of
one's son or daughter upon completion
of their two or three years of mandatory
army service. If only that could be guar-
anteed for every family in Israel.
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GITLIN from page 32
ed to skip it were party leader Shimon
Peres, Matan Vilnai, Haim Ramon
and Amram Mitzna.
It is hard to explain the disconnect
that is reflected in the actions of
Israel's ostensibly progressive leaders.
On the one hand, Mitzna and other
Labor leaders tour American Reform
and Conservative synagogues peddling
support for their peace plans, claiming
Jews are all one people and together
we can bring security and internation-
al respect to Israel. On the other
hand, they do not have the time even
to appear as though they care about
an issue of clear importance to the
entire Jewish people.
Moreover, their dismal performance
in the vote suggests they either do not
understand or refuse to admit that
Israel's current isolation does not stem
solely from the occupation of
Palestinian territories or a disconcert-
ing rise in anti-Semitism.
The upholding of such clearly dis-
criminatory practices as those relating
to personal-status issues is impossible
to defend. It also arms those who wish
to paint Israel as a racist society, and
will continue to do so even after peace
eventually is made with the
Assisted Living from S3,600 per month
BEHIND Tim ISSUE
Arab leaders in the Middle East have
been coming together, or planning to
do so, in recent weeks, but the results
will, unfortunately, not bring the
region closer to peace.
Radicals in the Palestinian Authority
and the terrorists of Harnas and
Islamic Jihad have been meeting to
bring greater coordination to their
attacks on Israel. Meanwhile, the
moderate" Arab leadership, as a result
of internal bickering, cancelled a long-
planned summit where a new peace
plan directed toward Israel was to
have been unveiled. These develop-
ments strike a blow to U.S. efforts at
democratization in the Middle East.
— Allan Gale, Jewish Community
Council of Metropolitan Detroit
Orchard Lake Rd. South of Lone Pine Rd.