Sivan Rahav-Meir
Sivan Rahav-Meir Courtesy

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Avi Har-Even of blessed memory was a recipient of the Israel Defense Prize. He received it for innovations that may not be publicized due to national security concerns.

He was also the head of the Israeli Space Agency, a colonel in the IDF, and a leader in Israel's aerospace industry. He dealt with satellites and their advanced instrumentation and spearheaded research and development. In so doing, he saved the lives of many who are not even aware of it.

But he could not save his own life. The same person who brought Israel's security complex to unbelievable technological heights was killed in the most primitive attack: Arab rioters threw a firebomb at a hotel in Akko while he was sleeping there. The 84-year-old Avi was seriously injured and died two evenings ago from his wounds.

Sophisticated weaponry is important, but Israel -- a champion in outer space research -- sometimes forgets what's happening in our inner world, right here in Akko and Lod, for example.

On Shabbat we read about an important principle in the weekly Torah portion. When the ten spies returned from their excursion to the Land of Israel, they said this about their encounter with the local residents: "We were as grasshoppers in our eyes, and so we were in theirs." Since we saw ourselves as weak on the inside, so they saw us as weak on the outside.

This is true in our personal lives (a low self-image will influence the manner in which others see us), and also in the life of our nation. Self-confidence is crucial. Stubborn insistence on following the law and an understanding of what we are doing here are critical. Otherwise, we will be seen as "grasshoppers," as people who may be easily attacked, heaven forbid.

To the memory of Avi Har-Even, Israel Defense Prize recipient, with hopes for improvements in Israel's defense.