Daily Israel Report

Op-Ed: David the Nahlawi - Yes to a Jewish Soldier

David of Nahal - a Jewish soldier. If only we had him just a few decades ago.
Published: Tuesday, May 06, 2014 7:19 AM



Imagine if Anne Frank caught sight of him.
This David, like his namesake King David, refused to back down. Some days ago in Hevron he was taunted, heckled, pushed and shoved by Arab tormentors.

They kept taking pictures. They win either way. If he fights back, hello The New York Times! That image makes front page over there and all over the Internet as proof of Israeli “aggression.”

If he cuts and runs, the terrorists and their leftist enablers get a good laugh watching yet another Jew so easily made defenseless and helpless.

Just like “the good old days.”

Just like that terrified boy in that famous Holocaust picture who is being shoved along by the Nazis.

Just like that humiliated grandmother who is shown in another famous image trying to deflect fistfuls of blows from the same Nazis…as they smirk and laugh.

But this David fought back, and it wasn’t even a fight. He merely cocked and aimed his weapon when he’d had enough from the bullies.

About a year ago we had pretty much the same story involving Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner. See here as he too refused to be a patsy and what happened? He got himself in trouble with the IDF brass.

This David making headlines is a soldier attached to the Nahal Brigade and we do know his real name, but don’t need it here to compound whatever trouble he faces from his commanders. As we get the story, though he was alone in Hevron when he faced the mob, he allegedly overstepped the IDF’s rules of engagement.

After that – and after thousands “liked” the pro-David protest on Facebook, including an outpouring of support from his peers, most defiantly from his fellow Nahlawis – so after that it is not entirely clear what’s to become of David the Nahlawi.

We know that the IDF is concerned about its image abroad. Israel is the only nation on earth that is expected to be absolutely perfect.

Only Israel is forbidden to stand its ground. After all, every step taken by an Israeli is “occupied territory.”

Ask around. Ask Mahmoud Abbas. Ask the Third Reich. Or, same thing, ask BDS.

But consider this and nothing else. 

My generation comes from a place where even to dream was forbidden and verboten.

Know him as David or by any other name – Imagine, A Jewish Soldier.

If only we had him a generation ago…and for 2,000 years where was he? We could have used him before Auschwitz, before Treblinka, before Bergen Belsen. Imagine if Anne Frank caught sight of him. Or my very own family in Toulouse where we could only whisper until we escaped. Imagine if he were there with the outmanned and outgunned fighters in the Warsaw ghetto.

When I grew up the phrase “A Jewish Soldier” did not roll off the tongue. (I did use that title for a chapter in my memoir.)

In fact it was hard to believe, after what we’d been through.

But everything changed that day in May 1948.

We found ourselves in Montreal after navigating mountains, rivers and oceans, the Gestapo at our heels.

Over at Fairmount Street I saw my father walking from the newsstand with the Yiddish paper and he had tears running down his cheeks. My father? Crying? This man who shouldered his entire family and many others as well…now weak? I ran to him.

“What’s wrong?”

“Look,” he said, voice cracking, arms trembling. “Look at this picture. A Jewish soldier.”

The David of Nahal episode, right or wrong, and all politics aside…

If you do not understand this, if you do not understand what a Jewish soldier means, I will never be able to explain.

Jack Engelhard writes a regular column for Arutz Sheva. New from the bestselling novelist, the enhanced edition of his award-winning post-Holocaust memoir Escape from Mount Moriah. Website: www.jackengelhard.com