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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Son of former SLA member serving in the IDF

The IDF reports on the son of a former member of the South Lebanon Army, who is now serving in the IDF.
Staff Sergeant A’ is a child of parents who served in the South Lebanon Army (SLA). He grew up in southern Lebanon and escaped Israel with his family when the IDF pulled out of Lebanon in 2000. Nowadays, he serves in the IDF as an aircraft technician and feels a sense of belonging to Israel.

The last loss of Hassan Nasrallah, in the Lebanon elections, has a special significance to Staff Sergeant A’; a first class aircraft technician in the IAF. A’ was born in Lebanon, during the time his father served in the South Lebanon Army. The SLA was supported by Israel during the 1982-2000 South Lebanon conflict against Hezbollah and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Before permanently moving to Israel, A’s family often visited Israel. “I can’t remember my first visit to Israel,” tells A’, from his station at the Tel Nof Airbase. “Our visits to Israel were in order to visit family relatives living in Israel. Even my four older sisters were born here.”
In May 2000, the Israeli government, headed by Prime Minister Ehud Barak, decided to retreat from Lebanon. “After the IDF withdrawal, there was a great scare in my family,” recalls A’. “Dad knew we had to leave. We left out of fear, if we weren’t afraid we never would’ve left. At that time I had no idea, but now I know that Hezbollah threatened the lives of the SLA members. A friend of my father was killed by Hezbollah. It distilled in us great fear and sadness.”

When IDF forces began to evacuate the area, A’s parents were forced to decide: stay in Lebanon with their seven children and risk their lives or to leave their homeland and relatives, and start a new life in a foreign country. “My parents decided to leave along with other SLA members and their families,” remembers A. “The move to Israel was very fast. I remember we had to leave within 12 hours; we just took what we had on us. It was not easy to transfer the life we built there, but whoever stayed was under threat. I know that some of those who stayed were arrested and even killed.”

When A’s family first settled in Israel the children went to a Lebanese school. A year later, they moved to Safed where A’ attended a Jewish school. In school, A’ learned Hebrew and learned about Israeli culture. There he integrated into the Jewish society and made many good friends.

In 2006, the Second Lebanon War broke out. “I was in Safed during the war. We had fully supported Israel and the IDF. It was very difficult for us to hear about something happening to any IDF soldiers. I remember hearing in the media that in the village where I was raised, several soldiers were killed from an anti-tank missile. It was very hard to hear. My entire family really likes this country, if we didn’t love this place we wouldn’t have stayed here,” says A’.
Clip this article and keep it for the next time someone tells you that Israel discriminates against Arabs.


At 2:56 PM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

kol hakavod

At 5:27 PM, Blogger Shy Guy said...

If he's a Maronite, he's not necessarily an Arab.

Toda, Sgt. A. Much success and a long life!


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