The IDF recently inducted a number of very special recruits whose stories shed some light on just who the heroes are who work to maintain the safety and security of the State of Israel every day.
Shani Winter – The Baby Who Survived:
Shani Winter was accompanied to the IDF induction center this past Sunday by her friends and family, but not by her mom. Shani’s mother was killed 18 years ago in a suicide bombing at the Apropo Cafe in Tel Aviv on March 27,1997.
Three women were killed in the attack, one of whom was three months pregnant. The attack, which was perpetrated the day before the Purim holiday, is forever ingrained in the memories of the Israeli populace partly due to one picture.
The picture showed a six-month-old baby dressed in a clown costume for the holiday being carried out of the wreckage by a female traffic police officer. The baby, Shani, was saved by her mother, Anat Winter-Rosen, who covered her daughter with her own body, shielding her from the blast. .
The now grown Shani is embarking upon her military career to combat the very terrorists who took her mother’s life. She was accompanied to the induction office by the same police officer from the photo who carried her to safety, Ziona Bushri, who is now a Senior Staff Sergeant Major and serves in the Tel Aviv District’s Prosecution Division.
Shani has two small marks from shrapnel wounds she incurred during the attack. Raised by her father Micky, Shani told Ynet just before her induction, “I’m the baby from the Café Apropo bombing, and I’ll carry that for the rest of my life. I’m jealous of my friends who have mothers. I don’t know what it’s like to have a mother. On the other hand, I find comfort in the fact my mother saved me. That I was a part of her, and she protected me.”
Shani was optimistic about the new chapter in her life that she is embarking on. “I’m very excited about this new journey and the interesting and challenging role I’ll have in my army service,” Shani said.
Zehava Rosen, Shani’s grandmother, also came to see her granddaughter off. “After the hard years we’ve been through, we’ll all come to wish her luck with a big hug,” she said.
Ziona and Zehava talk regularly on the phone. Ziona has been there for Shani throughout her life, calling her on her birthday every year and attending memorials for Shani’s mother.
“Memories of this awful bombing accompany me every day,” Ziona said. “I will never forget the moment I picked Shani up and ran to search for her family. And here she is, the baby we all remember has grown up and is joining the IDF. I embrace her and cross my fingers that she succeeds.”
The Children of Anett Haskia
Anett Haskia is one of the newest members of the modern Zionist Bayit Yehudi political party. What makes Haskiat so special? She is the only Arab member of the Right-wing religious party and joined because the party represents what she believes in – a strong Israel.
In an open letter to the Jerusalem Post, Haskia explained her decision for joining the party and why she does not consider herself a traitor to her fellow Arabs in spite of criticism she faces from anti-Israeli Arab political leaders, such as MK Ahmed Tibi.
Haskia voiced her contempt for the duplicity that the Israeli media shows in their treatment of Israeli Arab MK’s, which she claims is “posh,” and how they have treated her since her joining of Bayit Yehudi.
“I’ve been interviewed by almost every major local news source, and almost every one of them has had a hand in distorting my image to make me look like an ignorant warmonger,” she wrote.
Haskia takes to task what she calls “Left wing NGO’s” who fund private mansions as well as other luxuries for Arab MK’s, ostensibly with money that should be helping Israeli Arabs. She includes in her scathing report “NGOs like Peace Now, B’Tselem, Machsom Watch, J Street and the New Israel Fund.”
“My Knesset campaign isn’t sponsored by rich Left-wing philanthropists who have no idea they’re serving the cause of hatred, incitement and continued segregation in our society – the very things I’ve been fighting against for the last four years without getting a penny’s worth of help from the B’Tselem’s and Peace Now’s (not that I’d go to them for help).”
Haskia has three children, all of whom currently serve or have served in the IDF. Her youngest son, Hussam, recently participated in Operation Protective Edge and her daughter Suha, who was recently married, was the first Israeli Arab woman in the IDF.
Haskia is hoping that if she gets elected to represent Bayit Yehudi, she will be able reform the political narrative among the Israeli Arab constituency.
Father Gabriel Nadaf’s Son: Jubran
Father Gabriel Nadaf, a prominent Greek Orthodox priest residing in Israel, is a vocal proponent of Israeli Christian’s enlisting in the IDF. Now his son, Jubran, is putting himself on the line to fulfill his father’s dreams as well as his own.
Jubran joined the IDF at the beginning of December, enlisting in an elite combat unit, setting a fine example for Israeli Christians throughout the country.
“My son very much wants to enlist and serve in a combat unit. He believes in what I do, that we all have a home here, that he also needs to give to the country,” said Nadaf. “The country gives him his rights, and should receive what it is due in return. We all need to live here in peace, and protect the existence of the country that we live in, since our future is here.”
Over the past few years, Father Nadaf has helped increase the numer of Christian Israelis who enlist in the IDF by over 500 percent, from 30 to 150 recruits. “This is a historic and exciting day at the Nadaf household and a happy day for Christians in Israel,” Nadaf stated, adding that he “sees this step as a personal example to Christian parents who teach their kids to love, cherish, honor and serve their country and contribute to society!”
These three IDF recruits, who come from all backgrounds, exemplify once again that the IDF is one of the most accepting militaries in the world, receiving its inductees from all walks of life. Since it is the soldiers themselves, as they scale the ranks, that determine what the nature of the IDF is going to be like in a few years time, we can rest assured that for now, the identity of the IDF is in good hands.
Jew, Arab, Christian – that is Israel, that is the IDF.