Israeli Col.(res.) Shuka Harel will be making an emergency visit to Canada from Feb.27-March 4. Col.Harel runs a remarkable organization called the Association for the Welfare of the Soldiers of Israel. The Institute has been volunteering its time providing help and guidance for the Association, and its local counterpart the Canadian Zionist Cultural Association. There is no more worthy cause that we can involve ourselves with than this endeavour.
We make this dramatic statement not because we are Jews. But because we are proud citizens of a free and generous land that has always come to the defence of her allies in the struggle for freedom.
It is a sad reality in our world that far too often we are asked to stand witness to, and bear sacrifice for, the survival and success of liberty. As with Poland in 1939, England in 1940, Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1967, among others, we again face a despotic movement threatening democracy. As poisonous, and as deadly, as past threats, the spectre of radical Islam menacing the west, with Israel as its first prey,demands a response from us all and challenges us to action. The clarion call is clear.
We must act not because we are Jews, but because we are citizens of the free world and Israel is the frontline state in the family of liberal western nations defending our way of life. The retrogade Imams and tinpot dictators of the Islamic world do not hate the west for what we do wrong, but hate us they do for precisely what we do right. They cannot abide the clean air of the free and thus seek to imprison all through the noxious fumes of their clerical dogmas and the bloodlust of their perverse divinity. It is the new cloak of the old tyrannies.
And if Israel is the frontline state, we can best help by aiding the frontline defenders. The best of what we are as civilized men is reflected in the citizen soldiers of Israel who put aside their everyday lives and risk all. It is often thought that the Israeli army has the wherewithal to supply its soldiers with everything they need. Yet due to crippling financial constraints caused by so much money needing to be directed to heavy equipment, infrastructure and armaments, most Israeli soldiers do not have flak jackets because of their $1000 cost. Too many infantry units have no bunker shields to defend against shrapnel. They even miss simple non-military assets such as trailers where they can sit for a few moments in peace and write a letter home.
The Association Col.Harel heads, in singularly unique co-operation with the General Staff of the Israel Defence Forces, gets the money directly to the soldiers at the front specifically for these urgent necessities. There is no other group doing this work. Our call to you today is not for charity. There are no tax receipts that can be issued for this. We call on you to help save lives. We call on you to help the most valiant defenders of our way of life. We call on you to help as a redemptive act of courage and conscience. Nothing you may be involved with in your communal activities is as vital as this cause, at this time, and in this place.
The Middle East is again facing an imminent outbreak of general war. Make no mistake, Israel is facing peril. Thanks to the U.S. supplied Arrow anti-missle system and Zahal's existing assets, the body of its defense is strong. But we must do our part. Let us help take care of the bodies, and spirits, of the individual soldiers and help alleviate the strains on Israel's military budget caused by a war-ravaged economy. As proud Canadians, a nation that has sacrificed more sons and daughters for the defense of freedom than even the United States as a proportion of population, we cannot sit idly by. By our involvement we will have met the standard of being "un citoyen engagé" in Malraux`s words. When we will be asked what we did at this time of challenge, we will be able to answer that we stood with the bold and the brave in defense of freedom and not with, in Dante's words, "...those cold and timid souls who maintained their neutrality in time of crisis..."
Please indicate your availability,by return email, to meet with this extraordinary man, and learn about the work of this remarkable organization, on the 27th,28th or 29th in Montreal at a private session sponsored by the Institute at the University Club, 2047 Mansfield. We will communicate the exact date and time after a review of your responses and schedules. Meeting times are also possible in Toronto on March 3rd or 4th. To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, let us be among the few to whom the many will owe so much.
Beryl P. Wajsmann, Esq.
Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal