Mir Hadassi and
address the FIDF dinner
Col. Mike Gould of
the U.S. Army and Capt. Shira of the Israel Navy
at the FIDF dinner
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz of
the Kotel and Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of
Major American Jewish Organizations
Female Israeli pilot and
Maj. Gen. (Res.) Jerry Gershon, FIDF national director
Dr. Ruth Westheimer and
Capt. Shira of the Israel Air Force
A Mother’s Story
Of Her Soldier Son
NE of the supreme joys in Mir
Hadassi’s young life was when she and her parents converted
to Judaism in Holland and made aliya in 1975. "From the very
first moment I saw Israel I fell in love," she said. Her
devotion to the nation intensified when she did her military
service in the north which came under rocket fire during the
first Lebanon war in 1982.
At the same time she met her husband
Yossi and, after their army service, settled in Kibbutz
Merhavia (where Golda Meir first lived when she arrived
Three years later, in that beautiful
Jezreel Valley, Yonatan was born. Mir talked proudly of
her son who loved to walk in the fields, ride his bicycle on the
roads, take midnight swims in the kibbutz pool, and climb up the
water tower. During his high school years he chose milking the
cows as his kibbutz job.
"He milked all 600 of those cows," Mir
said proudly. "Twice a day! Every day! This was no small
undertaking. But Yonatan did it in his usual fun style – with
rock music blasting loudly. Then he’d slip into the kitchen with
his friend Arnon to make French fries."
At age 18 Yonatan joined the army.
"Like most proud kibbutzniks," his mother said, "Yonatan loved
the land of Israel and understood that he had to contribute in a
With his leadership skills he was a
perfect candidate for the elite Maglan unit, which specializes
in targets deep behind enemy lines. He was decorated for his
determination and courage.
In July 2006 Hezbollah kidnapped two
IDF soldiers and rained heavy rocket fire as far south as Haifa.
This triggered the second Lebanon war in July 2006. Yonatan’s
mission was to cross over into enemy terrain and take out those
Mir talked to him by phone on the
evening of battle. Had he slept? Had he eaten? All the silly
questions a mother asks. She finished with how much she loved
"Okay," he said.
"What okay?" she yelled. "Are you
embarrassed to tell your mother that you love her in front of
Yonatan laughed. "I love you too,
Little did she know that would be the
last laugh, the last words, she would hear from her son.
That night Yonatan and his team
slipped into Lebanon and encountered an extensive network of
well-disguised and fortified Hezbollah bunkers. Yonatan was
first to be hit by enemy fire. His friend, Yotam Gilboa,
the unit medic, tried to save his life, but he too was struck
down. In the end the Maglan team succeeded in stopping the
rocket attacks from that sector.
The two fallen soldiers got citations
for courage and sacrifice. And Mir…well she can’t explain what
"As I watched my beloved son being
buried, I was forced to confront the reality that I will never
see him again. My days are filled with relentless longing. Each
day I must face anew the challenge of continuing to live with
the ever-present sorrow of missing a part of myself."
Mir looks at her two daughters,
Sharon and Eden, and her heart fills with anxiety
that they, who have lost a brother, must face the prospect of
one day losing a husband or son.
As Mir related her story, tears
clouded the eyes of the 1,300 guests at the Friends of the
Israel Defense Forces annual dinner in March at the
Waldorf-Astoria. The event drew 30 Israeli soldiers who flew to
New York for the occasion. The dinner, under national director
Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak "Jerry" Gershon and dinner
chairman Benny Shabtai, raised $25.8 million for the
spiritual and recreational welfare of IDF members.
Mir told the Israeli soldiers in the
audience, "We are blessed with an amazing country and you
represent the very best part."