2. EXPLANATORY NOTES,
Friends Write About Yaron: 2
| Part 1 | Part 2 |
To Ramah and Yehoshua:
We didn't manage to know the mature and thinking Yaron who grew from the lively and active child of then. There were short meetings in your room or moments on kibbutz paths. I didn't manage to know Yaron, not because of the generation gap or a lack of communication between veterans and youngsters - there simply wasn't enough time and his lifespan was too short.
I have been together with you since the beginning of the kibbutz, a period stretching over almost two generations. We talked, argued, deliberated at length on stormy events and in peaceful days. I was accustomed to see you active, aware and responding to all the problems of our society and the distress of individuals, with your always being ready to lend a hand with words, advice, and ideas and with material help for a friend in trouble. How well do I know Yehoshua's unending energy and the immediate, concerned interest of Ramah.
And now, suddenly, you no longer occupy the usual position of those who console others - but we, your friends, try to give you what you were accustomed to give to ethers And how deeply we feel our inadequacy in giving consolation for such a terrible loss. We have nothing to suggest except the sense of being together, the support which can come from partnership of many years.
I feel the need to add something for it seems to me that in addition to the mourning now surrounding us, a certain bitterness has been added, stemming from the actual circumstances of the current period. For the parents generation, the loss of young lives, cut off before their time, is always accompanied by a feeling of failure, of guilt, over and above the cold clean logic. We, the veterans, once had the same naive and exaggerated hopes for the world we would leave to our children, a world without wars. We saw in the kibbutz a beautiful corner in the landscape of the land, a place where our children would grow up in a better world. But the kibbutz was never a corner. A corner has walls, it is far from the center, somehow protected and isolated. It was not in a quiet corner that we built the kibbutz and brought up the new generation. We were in the center of the map, in the focus of events, and if someone thought that they are educating youngsters in a glasshouse, we also know where they got to when there broke out, that war which we couldn't prevent. Whatever may be our outlook on the events of these present days (and the words of our soldiers provide witness to the soul-searching) this outlook cannot change, neither in one direction nor in another, the pain and sorrow over Yaron's death. It seems to me that pain and sorrow are imminent in our existence as a people. Tomorrow we will return to the debate on political wisdom but the loss which we are mourning here is final, absolute and eternal.
In our kibbutz home we shall try to be a good family to you Ramah and Yehoshua, to your children and grandchildren. We shall try to be supportive, helpful and consoling to the best of our ability. Yet we know that what will help more than anything to bring you back into the stream of life is your vitality and sensitivity to all that goes on around you.
Along with you we shall preserve in our memory the image of Yaron, fresh and vibrant, and the beautiful life he led.
I am left with a memory of things, of a wonderful smile which always asks how I feel. Of a body so smooth and beautiful. And the openness that was there. I don't believe there will be anything like this again...
Shira: I loved him as a Metapelet. I remember how he made up names for all the children: Inosh - Ginger, Snir - Chick; Nitzan - fir. Nitzan - Mr-in-the-clouds; Tamar - Ez begimel; Saar ? Taktzinko; Dror - Susko; Tal ? Tulik, Til.
Inbal tells how she helped Sharon to find Yaron. After there was no reply from knocking on the door of the toilet, they looked out of the window and fled, and when Yaron came, he smacked all the 'criminals' who pretended they were asleep.
Inosh: Yaron was among my best friends, we used to pick 'Shesek' (loquat) fruit together. He used to give me the least and take most for himself. He used to fondle my head and we'd also go to his room and together we'd catch big rats. He liked to take me to his room in the hut and gave me ice-cream and strawberries. We'd often go down to the basketball court and play together.
Tal: Once I went to the dining hall and saw him sitting with his family and he called me ?Til' and up to this day I don't understand if it's because this was similar to my name or because I'm a dreamer.
Nitzan: I would pick Shesek for him and he'd collect it and by the time I'd managed to climb down from the tree he'd run off with the bag. And another thing I remember...when he and Harel worked with us, we had a revolt against the Metaplot and knocked them onto the floor. There was no problem with Harel but for Yaron, Meir and Saar joined forces and even they managed to overcome him with difficulty.
A week before the war we tried to push him into the water in the swimming pool but we didn't succeed.
You don't know me. I was Yaron's platoon commander in his first three months of initial training in the Golani Brigade and today when I heard his name among those who fell, I felt the need to write something so that you should know how much he really was appreciated in the army from the start.
When I heard the news I was shocked at the beginning but afterward, to tell the truth, as regards Yaron it was perhaps not so surprising for he would always volunteer for the most difficult tasks and carry them out in the best possible way.
We sat and debated for many hours whether the greatest contribution is as a soldier or officer in the patrol unit or perhaps as a good officer (and I'm sure he could have been one) in the battalion. In the end he of course got what he wanted. In the middle of initial training, when we were told a number of soldiers could be sent to the patrol unit, nobody had any doubt, neither among commanders nor among soldiers, that Yaron should head the list.
Yaron had a great ability to overcome the toughest obstacles and I asked myself on many occasions how he was able to do so much.
He had very firm opinions and knew exactly what he wanted for himself, and when he didn't like something he had no fear of saying so and defending his views forcefully, often becoming the spokesman for the platoon.
I remember meeting Yaron after he was in the patrol unit, after his leg wound (I think he had a broken leg) and how much this disturbed him, not to be able to go on with his team. Neither was I surprised then that Yaron continued with his unit until he really couldn't do it anymore.
Without knowing details as to how Yaron fell, I'm sure that as usual he did what he had to do to the very best of his ability.
With sincere participation in your grief,
When I got to the patrol unit and replaced Avi, they all told me to beware of Yaron, since he is always under pressure and puts pressure on everyone around him. The truth is that Yaron was never under pressure without reason.
When someone didn't do his job properly, only then did Yaron become tense. I would try to calm him down, but without success. Yaron was the type who liked everything to be in order, always. When I was in the communications center, working alone, Yaron would come in and start shouting at me as to why things were not in their right place. I would try to explain to him that I hadn?t finished working yet and the moment I was through, I'd have everything in place. But he would tell me that the things have always to be in place regardless of whether I'm working or not.
Yaron would arrive in a place which wasn't his or a room where he himself didn't live, only to find everything in a mess. The first thing he did was to put some order into things. Only after this could he take a seat and calm down.
Apart from liking order and cleanliness, he was the epitome of sincerity. If he thought someone wasn't right, he would tell him directly. He would never speak behind somebody's back.
I recall one incident when Yaron wanted the television in another room and not in his because it disturbed him when he went to sleep. Accordingly, he simply removed the set from his room and put it out on the lawn.
Yaron had another characteristic: he wouldn't leave a job of work without finishing it to the very best of his ability. Or if there was work, of any sort, to do after a long exercise or some other tough assignment -Yaron would first of all finish his work and only then he'd go to shower and rest.
This would always annoy him and he would say: Why should I have to work to clear up the armored cars while they all go to shower and rest? Why shouldn't everybody help so we'll finish quickly together and all go to rest?" I could never reply to this question apart from always helping him so he wouldn't be annoyed with me as well.
When I had to go home, or had something else to do, and I'd ask Yaron - -"Listen, I have to go, do you mind staying here so I can go?, Yaron wouldn't think twice and would tell me - "You go, Yom-tov, I'll manage?.
The image of Yaron will remain before my eyes for ever. Not only because I worked with him so closely but above all because of his special character. It was for this that I, personally,will always remember him.
Yom-tov, from the patrol unit.
Yaron loved Natur - it wasn't too crowded but there are people to talk to if that's what you want. He thought of the possibility of going to live there for a year or two. It didn't worry Yaron that Natur was just over the green line (the former border with Syria) and on this we disagreed.
Traveling by train with Yaron as he looked out of the windows with the curiosity of a small boy, as if it was his first train ride. To get a lift in an army vehicle and to persuade Yaron not to take over the communications instruments. To eat pomegranates which Yaron brought from an orchard garden and to discuss if this is stealing. To hear Yaron saying that we don't need to be submissive towards Goni and to take the D200 to Nahariya for a snack. To speak of problems at home and why it is hard to create long-term and interesting contact with girls. To see Yaron under pressure from the first communication diagram he had to prepare and his happiness when he finished loading all the armored vehicles for the formation exercise. Then he helped the Intelligence people. Trying to convince him not to exaggerate in his demands on the men. To get Yaron's confirmation for lying on the best bed and the cleanest room in the unit. To play basketball together and hear what Yaron thinks of my ability in the game. To rejoice at meeting before the Tabor marathon run. To come to Ein Dor and to meet Yaron in Tel Aviv. A thousand and one little stories about Yaron as he looked to me, with all his advantages and disadvantages, stories of what it was like to live with Yaron.
After the war I found cut that Yaron wrote poetry. Yaron, who sometimes seemed childish, wrote seriously and sensitively on subjects transcending daily matters. As I finished reading the poems I felt I had missed out on something important. I felt we could have talked about another million subjects and understand what each had to say and what he really means. That there are a thousand more common stories ahead - and now they will never be told.
And to the feeling of loss is added the knowledge that Yaron is gone and will never return. And the grief isn't something which is capable of description and explaining, The heart simply aches too much.
Roi from the patrol unit.
From talks after Yaron's death:
Yael: We spent a lot of time together before Yaniv died and when the two of us continued, this was natural. Yaniv was always with us. I didn't feel the intention was that we should be a couple. He helped me. And now I go through all our meetings together like a film, so frightened that I'll lose him, searching for more and more photos together.
I remember how he told me in an army base that when the aero planes tear into the skies, he has a feeling of liberation, or a mighty longing to be free. Then I didn?t understand. Until it turned out that I was in the same base and with the first ascent of a plane I sensed the meaning of what he had said.
He knew how to spring surprises. A short time after I was in the base, he turned up with a wide-rimmed hat for me, something in great demand in the army.
Tamar: Had Yaron had a real girlfriend, perhaps he would have been less prone to volunteer for every mission.
Yael: It wouldn't have mattered if Yaron did or didn't have a girlfriend. Yaron always had special respect for human bravery. He greatly recommended me to read about Entebbe and about Yoni (the officer who fell there). Yaron loved Goni. Goni wa much more than his commander. They would discuss life and books and Goni would often help Yaron when his spirits were low.
One Saturday afternoon when the people from the Kvutsa were coming to visit, Uzi defined what was special about Yaron in the 'Aloe' group. Yaron was the contact between the two parts of the group: those who were well -organized and took things seriously and those who didn't want to toe the line..We talked about the ambivalence in Yaron, the constant struggle which went on inside him - between the desire to be at one with his conscience and do what was expected and on the other hand, to release himself from inhibitions, to break out and be free.
Yesterday we got your warm and moving letter, which found its way over with renewed strength. Its hard to describe the feeling of gratitude I have for enabling us to participate so directly in such sincere and intimate emotions and thoughts.
Yaron wrote at the age of 14:
About eight years later, he returned his own blood to the earth 'To the high hills somewhere'..
The picture of the Beaufort fortress from the air comes back to me again and again. We flew over it in a helicopter and the skies were always red, with the last light of sunset. The tears are flowing and dampening the full pouch while between heaven and earth hovers the question: 'Whither man?'.
And I am with you, Ramah and Yehoshua, Naomi, Gilad and Tamar, while Yaron looks at me with his mischievous smile and asks: 'Really fantastic, eh?'
Yaron lives on among us and his memory streams through us, finding expression in the waves of warmth and tears which engulf and cleanse us. This memory, which raises a more sensitive relationship inside us, genuine and tender - works within us as an active force.
Yaron demanded of us in his poem: 'cry out to the world: enough of killing'.
This cry can only be absorbed if we will succeed in expressing in full force that pain which we feel in the face of the horrors going on around us, and all this through love and understanding! I have a feeling that only in this way can we slowly succeed in reducing the hatred and the madness.
Yours with love, Arieh.
He needed a little more time
And we could have gone on..
And for me the name 'Yaron' rings so soft, rich and beautiful.
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Yaron's Writings: School Days