January 24, 2008
The living dream
(Page 3 - Previous Page)The final ceremony arrives, and we are asked to say a few words as we receive our honorary certificates. After a few volunteers speak earnestly in English, I address the Israeli soldiers in Hebrew. I tell them that I have respect for all Israelis and the Israeli army. Then I say, "Chalom chalamti al Yisrael, veh ze chalom" (I have dreamt a dream about Israel, and this dream...), and because I don't know quite enough Hebrew, I add in English that this dream "came true."
An officer, who has presided over the ceremony, looks at me with a great deal of emotion in his face. He appears moved.
Afterward, when I get off the bus in Tel Aviv, Benbenishty hugs me and Itamar Futterman, a soldier who served in a tank unit in the second Lebanon War, tells me that it "has been an honor, a privilege" to serve with me.
Perhaps, I have inspired the Israelis, but they have inspired me even more. And they inspire all of humanity with the poise and serenity with which they live their lives, despite facing the prospect of annihilation every day.
Like David, though they have walked through the "valley of the shadow of death," they "will fear no evil."
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