Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Sgt. Benjamin Anthony
On Tuesday evening, March 16th, U.Va. hosted IDF (Israel Defense Forces, or Tzahal) Sgt. Benjamin Anthony, who voluntarily joined the Tzahal from his native U.K. at age 25 after experiencing anti-Semitism.
Sgt. Anthony shared some chilling tales of the battle frontlines, but the main objective of his lecture was to spread truth about Tzahal and to encourage students to pursue truth in the face of tainted media reports.
With a strong voice, Sgt. Anthony emphasized the humanity--rather than statistics and history--of wartime, recalling personal stories detailing his service alongside friends and comrades.
He often reminded the audience that the typical Israeli soldiers were not strong, fearless men, but rather eighteen-year-olds who, like most of us in the audience, recoil at the thought of ending another human life or at the possibility of losing their own. They are boys who must become men at the shout of an order, who must make split-second decisions without compromising the human rights of all involved.
Following his address, Sgt. Anthony left time for questions, assuring the audience that no question was too personal or political. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed to be taken of him for security reasons, but his personal impact on the audience will surely be remembered nonetheless.
Sgt. Anthony did a superb job of captivating an audience of Jews and non-Jews alike. He demonstrated through personal recollections the commitment to human rights embodied by the IDF and convinced all of us to see beyond statistics and biased media, and to consider the individual and their morals within the Tzahal.