I’ve been following A Soldier’s Mother to read and live with the jumble of emotions that come from sending one’s child (or watching one’s child) go off toward war. Now, Donniel Hartman offers a father’s perspective. In this moving and very personal essay, entitled The Pain and Dilemma of an Israeli Father and Citizen, Donniel Hartman talks about pride and fear create a painful dilemma for an Israeli father on the eve of a possible ground war in Gaza. He writes:
I am a father. As parents of children in combat units in the Israeli army, we live at a particularly difficult time. It’s not that the dangers facing our children now are greater than in the past. Unfortunately, war and fighting for our survival has been a permanent feature of Israeli life….
…We no longer raise our children to be soldiers. We raise them to be citizens of a beautiful and vibrant country that will enable them to achieve their individual dreams, and whose collective strength and greatness is constructed from the tapestry and sum total of these dreams…
…When war knocks at our door, and our children are placed in harm’s way, we feel proud at the bravery and loyalty of our children, but deeply disturbed and fearful at the same time. We are fearful that our children’s primary contributions to the country – their ideas, dreams and energy – are in danger of not being fulfilled.