Maj. (res.) Shraga, a senior commander in the "Jerusalem" reserve Infantry Brigade, tells Arutz Sheva - Israel National News that news of the war brought him racing back to Israel on the very day of the invasion.
"I woke up on the 7th of October and saw a lot of text messages from friends who were preparing for what was happening. I was shocked and horrified by what I saw on the news. I didn't doubt for a second what was coming - I got plane tickets, got to O'Hare airport, and was in Israel by Sunday afternoon."
Shraga says the decision caused mixed reactions among his friends: “Of course, my Jewish friends and family as well, are very supportive. Among my non-Jewish friends, a lot of people just don’t understand what’s going on over here. I think that American Jewry is on the front lines as well - everyone has a role, and their role is to fight antisemitism as well.”
Shraga comments on the spirit that is accompanying the Israeli troops into battle. “The Jewish people are rising up like never before. There are three thousand reservists in my battalion, and our spirits are high because our objectives are clear- we are going to bring back every one of our hostages and make sure that Hamas has no military capability so we can have a peaceful, productive neighbor instead of a terrorist group.”
As the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, Shraga feels a very personal connection to the war. “We grew up knowing that this was where Jews would never be persecuted again. We IDF soldiers, and the equipment we see behind us that is the promise of ‘Never Again’, and it is becoming very real.”
Shraga says that the war will not end when the fighting is over. “In 2016, we were chasing a terrorist south of Jerusalem. We chased him through the night and caught up to him in the morning. I was stabbed in my chest and injured very badly. It was a life-changing experience, and it made me join ‘Brothers for Life’, an organization that helps wounded soldiers take their lives back. When all this is over, we will still have one more assignment as commanders - to accompany our soldiers from their hospital beds to a full recovery.”