A Battlefield Love Story

Stand for Israel  |  May 20, 2019

Dated image of a woman and man standing together.

In 1948, the brave men and women of the Holy Land put everything on the line as they fought to gain independence for Israel. We who stand for Israel learn about this historical struggle and victory from many means. But one, told to us by Amir Ben-David in The Times of Israel, tells the story of a brave man and brave woman who not only fought for Israel, but fell in love — a story that their son, the writer, found among their love letters:

Nobody prepares you for the moment when you have to choose an epitaph for your parents’ gravestone. Your heart is filled with the turbulence of mourning, the people who have come to pay condolence calls, the tears and the childhood memories that surface unbidden — and in the midst of all this, you have to think of a way to sum up an entire life in a few words.

It is a daunting task, particularly for those who respect the written word, which in this case is going to be engraved in stone…

My father, Mordo, died in April 2007 at the age of 79. My mother, Ella, never recovered from his death. She suffered a severe stroke approximately four months later and left this world after three years of terrible physical and mental suffering.

They are buried next to one another in the old cemetery of Ramat Hasharon. A single word is inscribed upon their gravestones, beneath their names and the dates of their deaths: “Palmachnik” (member of the Palmach), in the masculine, on my father’s gravestone, and “Palmachnikit,” in the feminine, on my mother’s.

My siblings and I chose these words because their importance in my parents’ world, the world of yesterday, can never be exaggerated — even as that world moves steadily away from us, melting slowly into the pages of the post-high school history matriculation exam and the periodic disputes that surface with the publication of the latest sensation-causing book.

Until my parents’ last days, their best friends were Palmachniks, and the happiest days of the year for them were Independence Days that they celebrated with “the hevreh” (the gang), always the hevreh — and the stories and songs from the great moments of their lives…

Brave men and women still fight for Israel’s safety and freedom today, and you can help support them.