Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Man of Values & Valor

“You've given your life to Israel . . . to the people . . . to the military.  They were in your every waking moment and you never knew fear.  You are a great champion of Israel – a country that has always faced battles.  You've fought and you've won.  But you never stopped searching for peace.  You were a rare man, who served as an extraordinary example to us all.” ~ Israeli President Shimon Peres

“No one can feel this loss more than the family.  But beyond the personal pain, there is that of the public.  (He) was one of our finest sons and he is bereaved by all.  He was extraordinarily brave . . . a man of values and valor.  He was a hero.  He excelled in all walks of his life . . . He was one of those rare men who made their marks on all of us, especially in the IDF.  His humanity shone through always . . . as did his commitment to achieving peace and security.  He had a sense of vocation that I believe stayed with him until the very end.” ~ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“Today we are bidding farewell to one of our finest commanders ever.  We have lost an extraordinary man, a courageous commander, a true friend, a modest man who always looked everyone – from prime minister to a military cadet – directly in the eye.  Equal before all and all are equal to him.” ~ Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak

“You were a role model for all of us and we, as young soldiers, wished we could be like you.” ~ IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz

Israel has had many great military generals in its long history.  Today, one of those great leaders, General Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, was buried near Tel Aviv.  Six generals were his pallbearers.  His military life was remarkable.  He rose through the ranks to eventual become Israel’s 15th IDF Chief of Staff, serving as deputy chief under Ehud Barak, until stepping into his shoes in 1995.  Along the way he won two Medals of Valor.

The accolades given to him today were not about military accomplishments, but about his character on the battleground and off.  He was honored by his friends and family as a man of values and valor.  PM Netanyahu said, “I think that was Amnon's essence . . . Nobleness of spirit, devotion to the country and courage . . . A real hero.”  His wife, Tali, bid him farewell saying, “My love, what will my life look like without you?  In having you I won the greatest prize in the world.  You made me a better person.  I learned from you and taught you as well.  I am forever yours.”

It is always sad to see great men pass on into eternity.  Great leaders, men of integrity, men of values and valor, are getting harder to find.  Let us pray together for Amnon’s family.  Let’s pray that the Lord will raise up many more men of values and virtue in Israel who will work together to bring about the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).

Source material for this story includes the Israel National News, the Jerusalem Post, and Ynet.

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