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      One mother’s journey through the Israeli army with her sons

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      Paula R. Stern is CEO and founder of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company offering documentation services and training seminars. She made aliyah in 1993 when her oldest son was 6 years old. In March 2007, her son Elie entered the Artillery Division of the Israeli army and Paula began writing about her experiences as A Soldier’s Mother. The blog continues as Elie begins Reserve Duty and her son Shmulik is now a soldier. She recently opened a publishing house, helping other authors fulfill their dream to publish.

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      Tishrei 20, 5772, 10/18/2011

      Disproportionality


      In the Cast Lead War in which my son fought, there were many who said Israel was wrong. When we tried to point out that Cast Lead was preceded by the massive bombing of our cities by rockets and mortars, the word "disproportionality" was used. What does this mean?

      It's simple, was the response. Sure, Israel was getting bombarded - but most of the rockets miss, don't they? Well, yes, with the help of God and through no intention of the bomber, yeah, they miss most of the time and hit empty fields. Of course, when they do hit, they kill and maim and destroy - people and massive amounts of property and even when they miss, they cause terror and shock, trauma and psychological pain.

      But yes, when Israel fires - most times, we hit our target. Of course, they didn't like our target and they didn't like us hitting it so they moved their rockets into schools, mosques and hospitals so they could say we were destroying civilian buildings. It was, they claimed, all about disproportionality.

      Of course, that word only works when the Palestinians want to use it. We aren't allowed to use it because...because...well, just because. So tomorrow, we will release 1,027 prisoners - among them the murderers of almost 600 Israelis. Those that have murdered children, babies, mothers and fathers. They have left a trail of orphans, widows, and parents who will never recover from the agonies of losing their sons and daughters.

      We will do this for the return of one son - Gilad Shalit.

      Disproportionality? 1 for 1,027? Apparently so - by sheer math, this means that each of these prisoners is worth 1/1027th of the life of a Jew, of an Israeli. But this is not a politically correct statement in a world that wants to believe in the equality of man...expect, of course, when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians.

      Our high court has pushed aside all last minute petitions against the trade. From our side, we are clear. Whether it will happen or not, now depends solely on the honor of the Palestinians - a frightening concept. So let's say it depends more on the pragmatism of Hamas. Tomorrow, they will declare themselves the victors - it's what they do no matter what happens.

      But that's really okay with me. I'm fine with living in a land that would trade 1,027 terrorists and murderers to get back one Jewish soul. Am I afraid of future deals and more kidnappings and attacks - of course I am. But for tomorrow, I'm going to put that all aside and thank God I live in Israel, where we would let loose these killers to save Gilad. I thank God I don't live in a society that will take to the streets tomorrow to celebrate the return of killers, that my country will be cleansed of the filth that is Ahlam Tamimi and the like.

      No, not all - but most of the 1,027th of them will go to Gaza, Syria, Turkey, Qatar and I'm going to believe that the air I breathe will be that much cleaner, disproportionally cleaner than it is right now.

      And I'm going to do one more thing - I'm going to believe, with complete faith, that what man fails to do, God will. God will avenge the blood of the 600; God will remember their sacrifice and the pain of their families and curse these miserable 1,027 people - all the days of their lives.

      No, I would not want to be Palestinian tomorrow, a society that will be judged for its heroes and will be found lacking. Celebrate tomorrow, Gaza but know that we celebrate too. We celebrate the return of Gilad Shalit and we celebrate that we are not you, not a society who worships killers and death.

      And in the next war - because we all know there will be one - perhaps you'll have to come up with a different word because disproportionality just won't work after you demanded and received 1,027 for 1.