October 1, 2002
BUT THE DREAM ENDURES:Death of a hero (Jerusalem Post, Oct. 1, 2002)
Two weeks ago, a photograph of a bright, young soldier appeared in this newspaper alongside an article about how his mother, with the assistance of some generous strangers, had helped to feed him and his 34 comrades serving in Nablus. Yesterday, that same soldier's photograph graced the front page, albeit in far more heartrending and painful circumstances.
Sgt. Ari Joshua Weiss of the Nahal Brigade was just three weeks short of his 22nd birthday when he was shot and killed by Palestinian terrorists on Monday during a fierce gun battle in Nablus. Another soldier, Shai Haim, was badly wounded in the exchange of fire. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.
Weiss, whose father Rabbi Stewart Weiss is director of the Jewish Outreach Center of Ra'anana and a Jerusalem Post columnist, made aliya with his family from Dallas, Texas, a decade ago. Weiss is survived by his parents, five siblings, and his maternal grandparents, both of whom are Holocaust survivors.
Any time that a young life is snuffed out in the line of duty is, of course, a cause for inconsolable grief, something with which this country has become all too familiar these past two years.
While parents elsewhere are accustomed to seeing their children off to college or a career at 18, Israeli mothers and fathers must send their young men and women off to a war that was forced upon them.
But Weiss' untimely death in uniform carries with it an additional component, one that many of us often do not sufficiently appreciate the enormous sacrifice that immigrants have made in helping to build and defend this land.
Like so many other Western immigrants, the Weiss family left behind the comforts and familiarity of their birthplace. They packed their belongings, left their families, and set out to live their dream: to build the State of Israel.
May we never have to learn how Israelis learn to deal with the daily rage and sorrow that such stories must cause. Posted by Orrin Judd at October 1, 2002 10:17 PM