My grandfather, סבא אהרון, used to wake up my brother and me around 3:30 every morning to work in our family farm; count the animals, milk the cows, feed them and make sure they are healthy and safe.
Taking care of animals takes an absolute commitment and understanding of your role in their life. You simply learn to serve and give with no conditions. Almost like being a parent.
As a holocaust survivor my grandfather didn’t say much...and as he woke us up with 3 knocks on the door - he used to repeat the same sentence for more than a decade: We are home, building our state. Get up and do your share.
אנחנו בבית. בונים מדינה. קום ועשה את החלק שלך
When we were teenagers my brother and I went for a morning run, heading to our second grandfather ראובן ז"ל community grocery store...we found him with no spirit...he was brutally butchered by Palestinians. We were too young to understand, but old enough to accept the fact that creating a safe flourishing place for the Jewish nation העם היהודי means many things, and lost is one of them. Moving on, work hard, give birth and love is the other.
After my army service I was accepted to medical school, but at the same time I was offered to try and join the special operation team in the Israeli secret service.
I felt young and strong… proud and motivated.
As the work was in a deep undercover - no one in my family, and none of my friends knew what I was doing and they all worried I’m lost.
It takes a few long and demanding years to become what we call a shadow warrior. As a shadowed unit we were simply our enemies nightmare...we knew them so well up to a point where we could predict their next move and be there ahead of time ...using any necessary means in order to save lives....we did everything out of love to the Jewish nation and the state of Israel. Hate never took any place in our hearts and actions...how deadly the situation was.
In the early 2000 I became a team leader. My team members sacrificed their soul, heart, body and some even their lives. They were my brothers and sisters.
But 2002 was different. It was a deadly year, and especially פסח time, for the matter of fact it was the deadliest month in the history of the state of Israel, and my team was the last frontier before death strikes civil life.
Suicide bombers and shootings over innocent families were a daily routine and were all over the state... I was in charge of Tel Aviv and its surroundings cities.
Buses exploded...line number 24, line number 25, and line number 5 in the center of the Tel Aviv...taking mostly young students and elders, line number 405 from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, cafe moment, Park hotel hosting the Seder , אפרת, עפולה, חיפה, מעלה אדומים, כיסופים, קרני שומרון...so many dead people. So many lives were ruined.
I don’t really remember the days before the following story…a story about the most beautiful women I ever met. My team members didn’t sleep, didn’t shower, eat or drink much. They didn’t have a chance to watch t.v., listen to music, be with their families, take a moment of break and enjoy the cold ocean breeze, smell the mountains and face the beautiful sun… we were in what we call in time of crises - "a Burning Ground Mode"...which simply means; we are in a time of a true extreme on going threat and we should keep moving...keep fighting...collect the information, analyze it, act and react. Embrace reality as is, and be ready. Get things done.
Around 7 pm that day, a new alert came in to our office: “A suicide bomber is on his way to Tel Aviv”.
I used the team I had, resources and the tactics we knew to create a net around the city, a net that hopefully would lead us to catch him, or them.
The power I controlled from the car I drove, included connections to special army units, air-crafts, satellites, armed motor bikers, elite snipers, and the most advanced technology to analyze any signal out there…a power that could easily lead to a war if used wrong.
But the truth was that at that point we knew almost nothing. Nothing more than: “A suicide bomber is on his way to Tel Aviv”.
My team acted as the best humans on earth ...peacefully they all did exactly as I ordered them. No one doubted anything. There was no time or room for that. It was war. I was proud of them as we already lost few friends this year ...for mental and physical injuries.
For the next two hours I have received more pieces of information. Looking back I know I could have done much more.
The next information received was that we should look for three individuals. Then we got Tel Aviv center as the location for the explosion. Then we have been told that we should look for a white car… most likely to be of a GMC brand. Then we got a specific street name.
Every understanding changes everything and I moved my team and together we narrowed the circle... we were all the best that the state of Israel could offer in this type of fighting, and we managed to prevent and stop so many...again and again.
They do as I order and quickly report their new location, their grasp and hold of their new position. “א in place”, this is ביסו here… I have clear site”, This is ארנבי, ready to enter”. I fully trust them.
Then I was told we have 20-30 minutes. You must understand that every piece of new information means that our enemies are being interrogated….as they should in time of a vicious war. War simply means Us or Them. No middle ground.
The next thing I remember was that the 20 minutes became a two minute alert. We had two minutes and time ran faster than ever.
Can you imagine the responsibility we all felt? Two minutes only. Our mind was so alert, so tuned, ready to charge...fight and sacrifice. It was our duty.
The very last piece of information I got was: “Be ready to clear out”...clear out as we needed to keep our identity hidden. Our identity as shadows was our true strength. So as yours. Being a proud free Jew.
8:59 pm. Silence. I felt that easily it could be the same silence as before creation. But it was not.
Through that silence I see it. Allenby Street, a white GMC, unsteady driving. I know where my team is...they are all too far…the net I have created was not good enough this time… no one will make it on time...except me… but it is against the protocol - to get out of my car and make an "on foot chase". I’m the leader… and the leader should always lead...keep managing the team, share the information and follow the rest of the procedure.
Still, here I am, out of the car, without informing anyone. Especially not my own team...
My grandfather words are running strongly through my veins: “We are home, building our state. Get up and do your share.”
אנחנו בבית. בונים מדינה. קום ועשה את החלק שלך
I take my gun, I load it, and I start running like there is nothing between me and them...life and death. Love and hate.
I see the car still in a distance...far less than a quarter of a mile. My assumption was that they already launched their guy into one of the coffee shops on the street...
I ran so fast. fast. fast. Faster….I know I’m close...and all I need is another 5 to 10 seconds, and half a second inside the coffee shop to locate and shot him down. I take a deep breath… and deep inside I could already feel it….
9 pm. Explosion. I find myself on the ground. Broke both of my shoulders, my eyes are burning, I lost hearing in my right ear, and pieces of metal and glass are covering my body and especially my arms. I feel strong and i keep running. Initiating contact. Initiating is a primary essence of the IDF and Israel security agencies. Never again to be a victim.
I get inside the coffee shop. I see him. There is nothing to shoot at. Nothing at all. As a leader I know I’m in the wrong place. I just did all the things I should have not done. I should clear out, and reports of the situation...lead the chase after the GMC. Instead, I just stayed and gave first aid...cleared out the injured. It was still silence. No one screams in the beginning.
Than I stopped. As I stood there in the center of hell on earth screaming שמע ישראל...I needed some guidance. Felt helpless...and wondered why I didn’t go to medical school when I could have, why again I am late just as I was late to save grandfather 15 years ago.
My call was answered and everything became clear. Felt strong again. It’s like I knew everything that has happened in the moments before the explosion...what did he do, said, how did he act, to whom he approached and why.
It was the shadow of death and God has shown me the only way out. I looked back, to the bar, knowing that behind any bar there is a bartender. Alcohol was dripping from the above shelves, fire got bigger. ... I move quickly and I see her; the most beautiful women on this earth… and she is on fire. I use a fire extinguisher... I take her out in my arms and I lay her down on the side road. There are now people all around and screaming. I was thinking to myself ...look at them… so brave… helping and caring ...doing whatever they can...these are my people and I love them. This is why I am here. To be part of exactly that. In the most ironic tragic way there is… I thank God for that.
I was about to leave her there and go, a dead young women, just as out of nowhere she remarkably whispered: “Touch my hair, I don’t want to die alone”.
She closed her eyes, her head in my hands. I do as she asked me too. I touch her burned face.
A Stranger approached… a human angel… “Here, have some water”…he said….”give her some”…he add with a smile…as angels knows… they do.
Kineret woke up after months in intensive care, been through every pain known to man and born again as Kineret חיה. She did teshuvah, got married and created a beautiful family.
In 2007 - I got a decoration of bravery for leading my team for a complex period of time with an operational success. It is only than that I felt brave enough to call her and ask for her forgiveness.
We met in the coffee shop. She cried as she hugged me. This time it is her who is touching my face, while saying that it was the best thing that has happened to her...and while everyone around us were crying with her…she gently spoke her words for all of us –
“I found God, life, and a great nation that can never be defeated”
עם ישראל חי, לזכור ולא לשכוח!