Thursday, December 06, 2007

Heart surgeon by day, attack copter pilot by night...

...or on his days off.

This story has been wending its way through the wires over the past couple of weeks, in various forms (i.e., some versions don't include the successful outcome of an Arab baby's heart surgery). An Israeli heart surgeon, "Yuval", regularly saves the lives of Arab children. He also regularly fires on Arab terrorists, as a Cobra attack helicopter pilot.

Yuval’s oldest son was born in the 1990s, after the Oslo accords. He dreamed that his son wouldn’t be drafted. Then, in 2000, the second Palestinian intifada erupted. Suicide bombers blew up Israeli discos and caf├ęs.

Israelis responded with force. Palestinians from Gaza were banned, including the men who labored with Yuval. Yuval flew targeted assassination missions, killing about 15 intifada members, he said. After a strike, Yuval said, he would emerge from his cockpit successful, yet feeling bad, his hair wet with sweat, his neck reddened with tension.

Some pilots quit. They criticized the military. Yuval called them “unforgivable.”

As he snapped pink pajamas on his daughter, Yuval said, “If you think you’re more moral, stay in and fight the battle the way you think it should be fought.”


Such is the life of citizen-warriors, who dwell in a land where their mortal enemies are but a brief bus ride away. It's actually a touching story, and although this Jewish news media watchdog group found reason to carp, it's actually a fair slice-of-life bit of reportage. If some psychic conflict is intended to be suggested here, I didn't find it. In fact, one immediately thinks of the lack of psychic conflict among the Palestinians, murdering Jews one minute and coming to Israeli clinics the next. The doctors there do their jobs without bias, but admit: when Jewish terrorism victims are brought in through the Arab waiting room, it gets hard when they cheer.

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