Two Israeli Soldiers Speak Out in Irvine
If you live in Southern California and were in need of something interesting to do last night, you should have been at a program called “Speak Out.” The free program, put on by The Israel Center & Rose Project of Jewish Federation Orange County, featured two Israeli soldiers who recounted their personal experiences of serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) including the 2009 attack on Hamas in Gaza.
SWU has four soldiers on a campus-community tour in Seattle, Portland, Silicon Valley, New York, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Chicago and Wisconsin.
I was moved by Inon Tagner, one of the soldiers who said att he beginning of the talk, “Today I was at the UC Irvine campus and I was visiting with the students there. I must tell you after hearing them tell us about what is going on, I think you folks have it worse here than we have in Israel. Tagner went on to talk about, as a leader for a group of soldiers in Israel, having to attend nine funerals in one day after his unit was attacked defending Israel. He went on to explain about his experience on the UC Irvine campus today. “Today, I was accused by a Muslim student, that Israeli’s steal the organs of Palestinians.”
What happened next, at that point he pulled out his wallet for the audience at the Jewish Federation on Wednesday night and showed all of us what he showed the UCI student. “Why would I steal organs when I am an organ donor and if something should happen to me…..”
He then made his point to the student this way. Tagner added, ” What if I were to call you a pedophile. You know someone who harms young children? The student responded. That’s absurd, the student replied. Exactly. Now you know how I feel about your statement.”
Just as moving as a Palestinian resident among the audience. He began by getting up and shaking both soldiers hands. He not only asked questions but made an important comment. He said, “Everyone needs to start with peace in their home. Everyone has a responsibility, especially on the Palestinian side — We must educate our kids.”
Enough of me trying to retell the story. Here are a few short clips from Inon Tagner.
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