Nov 26, 2007 11:25 pm


As the rabbis said: If I am not to myself, who will be for me (so Yuval is a squadron gunner); If I am only to myself, what am I (so Yuval is a periatrician who saves the life of Palestinian as well as Israeli children); and if not now, when?

Yuval's inspirational story shines a light on the reason Israel not only survives but thrives:

The 2-year-old's flawed heart beat backward, pumping blue blood to his lips and inking rings around his eyes.

Ahmad edged across his hospital bed, toward his mother, Nasima Abu Hamed. Nasima, a Palestinian from Gaza, had brought Ahmad to Israel for an operation. She moved uneasily through hospital halls decked with Israeli flags -- but the Jewish doctors could save her son. . . .

Yuval patted Ahmad on the head. The surgery would be soon. Later, Nasima called Yuval"our savior of the children."

Yuval is a savior of children. He is also an attack helicopter pilot. It was Yuval in his Cobra -- though Nasima didn't know it -- hovering over her town, as Israeli troops battled armed Palestinians. By day, Yuval works as a pediatrician. By night, he fires missiles for the air force.

One of Yuval's supervisors, physician Sion Houri, sees no contradiction between Yuval's two jobs."There's reality A; there's reality B. It's not a dichotomy -- it's us," said Houri."It's our life as Israelis."

After decades of war, what might be madness in another society passes for normal in Israel. As negotiators meet this week in Annapolis to try to resolve the Middle East conflict, Israelis find ways to resolve the conflict in their own lives. In the Bible, Ecclesiastes declares:"There is . . . a time to kill, and a time to heal." Yuval is doing both, at the same time.

Actually, this is zionism 101 - one hand holds the shovel, the other the gun. There has never been a choice for Here I was Born. Just imagine if he could rest nights . . . . No wonder Israelis have been singing so enthusiastically about Tomorrow, and Next year, when peace will finally come or that all Jews, where ever they roam, pray daily:"He who makes peace in Heaven will make peace on us and all of Israel."

David Ben Gurion, the father of the country, would have been ever so proud.

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