Naomi Ragen: Two Mothers
For those who talk about two state solutions, and how we are all human beings, and how all mothers love their children the same way, please read the two letters below for a wake-up call. May God watch over our soldiers and give our people strength to withstand those who endanger our lives with their willful blindness.
I am the Mother of an Israeli Soldier
Francine Robinson [email@example.com]
I am a mother. I am an Israeli mother. I am an Israeli mother of an Israeli soldier. I came to this country practically nineteen years ago, filled with hope and optimism, carrying my son, my first Israeli born child. I stood at his bris praying that he would grow up in a land filled with peace and hope. I held him in my arms that October as the first rain fell; I walked him through the strawberry fields as we watched the luscious red fruit bloom in the January sun. I showed him the waves of the sea folding the foam in and out of the Mediterranean and we felt the caress of the sun on our faces as we lay on the Israeli sand. He would twine his small fingers around mine as I walked him to school, and he would lovingly kiss me goodbye as he went on his way.
I watched his blond curls turn brown and his lean, lank body fill out to a man's. I held him tight when he cried bemoaning the woes of a child and I was filled with ecstasy when his chubby face broke into a smile. I covered him at night when he was cold and wiped his feverish brow when he became sick. I was a mother [^] filled with the love, the hope, the expectation of all mothers. I dreamed of his future, filled with eternal love, and I did everything to make his present fulfilling and rewarding. "This is my son", I wanted to shout to the world, but the world already knew it.
I raised my son with a love of his home, with the ideals of giving and trusting and believing. I taught him the meaning of a country, of a homeland. I instilled the belief of duty and respect. I showed him the miracle of Israel, taking him to the north and the south, to east and west. I walked him through the ancient and modern, telling him of a miracle of creation, of a will and fortitude of a people who had no where else to go. I taught him the Bible and I taught him the stories of the present. I raised him to believe that we belong, that we are here, that this land is ours. I showed him how we turned a malaria infested marshland into a thriving metropolis; how we turned a desert into a farmland. We watched the land grow, painted in colors of blue and green, beige and pink. We planted a tree and as the tree grew so did he.
I am a mother. And on November 20th I sent my son into the Israeli army. I sent him to defend the ideals he came to believe, I sent him to fulfill his responsibility, I sent him as a mother sends her son, with a great deal of pride and with a broken heart. My son is still my child. He now bends down to plant that long awaited kiss on my cheek when he comes home. His hands have grown and engulf mine in his, but he still holds on when we walk together. But my son caresses a rifle instead of a girl. He eats combat food instead of home cooked meals. He spends his nights on patrol instead of watching TV or studying for an exam.
I am proud of my son, but I know that life could be different. Like all mothers in Israel I want to see the children of my son. I want him to live to be an old man and enjoy the love of a woman. I want him to hold his son in his arms and have hopes and aspirations for his offspring. I would never send my son to commit suicide or to kill other innocent children like him.
When you see pictures of these soldiers you are seeing my son. Look for the fear in his eyes, look for the shy smile beneath the helmet, and watch the long, lean fingers meant to embrace a young girl. Know that this is my son, a boy who wants to grow old in the only home he knows; the only home that he can be free in; the only country that does not discriminate against him. Understand that he would lay down his gun and pick up the ploughshare if only the other side had sons with mothers who want them to live.
Hamas terrorist Muhammad Farhat murdered 5 students in the Atzmona religious school, on March 3, 2002. Farhat's mother, Um-Nidal, encouraged her son to go on the homicide bombing mission against Israel. It was the first time a Palestinian mother endorsed the homicide bombing and was even photographed proudly with her son before he was sent on his homicide/suicide mission to Atzmona. In Palestinian society, Um-Nidal became a model for a mother who sacrifices her son for the greater glory of Palestine. She became a source of inspiration to additional mothers who imitated her, boasting about encouraging their sons to carry out homicide bombings, and taking pride in their deaths.
Muhammad Farhat's mother appealed to other mothers in a published letter that urged them to follow in her footsteps. Following are excerpts from the letter:
"Oh my fellow Muslim sisters. I swear by Allah, that you must educate your son to love Allah and obey him. Plant the seed of belief deep in his heart. Educate him, my sister, in the love of Jihad (Holy War on the non-believers) and self sacrifice until death, for Allah's sake 'I beseech you my sisters, women of Palestine who stand strong, do not be stingy with the fruit of your womb in the face of Allah. (i.e. do not prevent your children from going on homicide/suicide bombings.) He who holds my soul in his hand (Allah) is more merciful than us on them (the children). Do not deprive them, out of your own selfishness, of the heaven which Allah has promised to the martyrs and Muj'hadin (Fighters of Jihad). This is our happiness'"
This letter was published on March 7, 2001, a few days after her son died.
This phenomenon of mothers who encourage their sons to commit homicide/suicide bombings is spreading in Palestinian streets. Hamas is working on a project to create a "religious cultural center" in an effort to glorify Palestinian mothers for these " heroic" actions, and to immortalize the memory of the homicide/suicide bombers.