Israeli sergeant: Goal is to protect all of Israel

Life on the front lines protecting the nation of Israel is a constant battle that pits those who would do that country harm against a steadfast army of soldiers intent on deterring evil.

For Israeli Defense Force Sgt. Benjamin Anthony, a heavy machine gunner, the tension between Israel and its enemies is very real.

“Those enemies are real. They are incarnate. And they are coming to kill,” said the guest speaker at Sunday’s Central Pennsylvania State of Israel Bonds awards dinner.

Israel’s mission simply is to rise above the turmoil and daily threats of attack.

“We are not existing just to survive, but to positively thrive in Israel,” said Anthony, who detailed parts of his participation in raids and ambushes against terrorists in the Hebron region of the country.

He said that Israel cannot be put in a position of having its hands tied when it comes to dealing with its enemies.

“For waiting to defend ourselves is simply to wait for defeat. I’m concerned that may happen on our watch,” he said.

Anthony said that Israeli soldiers defend all of the country’s citizens – Jewish, Muslim, Christian or otherwise.

“We stand fast and the people behind us will live,” he said. “We do so to defend Israel.”

“Israel isn’t just a country. Israel is a people. When we go forward, we go forward to defend you as well,” he said to those of Jewish faith in the audience.

Still, he said, America’s commitment to the Israeli people is felt.

Through his basic military training on to more advanced ranks in the Israel Defense Force, Anthony said there has been one constant reminder of that commitment: all of the rifles he has used are engraved with “property of the United States of America.”

“Every tent I’ve ever slept in says property of the United States of America,” he said.

Anthony said he is proud of Israel being the “only functional democracy in the Middle East.” But he added that calls for Israel to be lenient with countries such as Iran that vow Israel’s destruction are warrantless.

“You don’t bargain away your home just because world opinion tells you to,” he said.