The Stretcher Drill
Omer's speech from the Solidarity with Israel event on October 11th.
I never thought that one of my most important missions as an Israeli emissary would come so fast.
As you know I only arrived here one month ago. My heart breaks for those people who are now left with a hole in their heart, one that they will never be able to fill.
An experience from the Israeli army can show us how our community can come together to help. One of the first challenges I experienced as a combat soldier was in boot camp. Before the army you are an individual person who is interested in different topics. You have your own opinion about politics and your own perspective and world view.
It takes only one act for all the individuals to realize that they are part of something bigger than themselves. One of the ways that the army does this is through something called the stretcher drill.
The whole point of the stretcher drill is in case one teammate is wounded. The wounded soldier will be carried off the field of battle by his fellow soldiers. The motto of the drill is: “No one is left behind.”
The stretcher is used when it’s obvious that we will have to carry the wounded soldier for a long distance, too far for any individual soldier to carry the wounded by himself.
For that purpose, the individuals need to become a team. One that makes the whole bigger than the sum of its parts.
When we come into the army from different backgrounds, we come as Ashkenazim, Sephardim, left wing, right wing, orthodox and secular. We came as individuals to create a brotherhood.
Today I am here to ask you to put your differences aside whatever they may be. Different beliefs should not equal dysfunction as a group. Sometimes we need to put our differences aside for the sake of a fellow teammate.
As I speak, people in Israel have put their differences aside for the sake of the country. We had the biggest callup of reserves since the country was established. 300,000 men and women answered the call to duty. Israelis of all ages are dedicating themselves to collect food, clothes, money, and other items for the soldiers and families in need.
Israelis have been left scarred because they lost friends, family members or fellow teammates. They are trying to put aside their bleeding souls to help others in need.
Today, the people of Israel are like the wounded soldier on the stretcher. They are bleeding.
Now more than ever, we need you the American-Jewish community to come together to help carry the stretcher. Let Israel win. Am Israel Chai.