It is a popular theme in secular sources around the end of December to come up with a “Person of the Year.” With Rosh Hashanah soon upon us, I offer my version of the year’s choice.
If I were a smart man, I would nominate my wife. Not only would that be savvy but it would be well-earned.
If I could pick a “Geographical Region of the Year” I would choose, without hesitation, the southern and coastal region of Israel for what they have endured since Jews were expelled from Gaza in 2005. Over 10,000 rockets have pierced the sky above their head and terrorized the entire populace, who experienced open miracles as they were protected by the Ribbono shel Olam. They are certainly made of stronger stuff than I because, when we made Aliyah, this region was immediately dismissed, partially because of the attacks from Gaza.
A related choice and certainly well-deserved would be Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, who, working jointly with the IDF, invented the Iron Dome.
It would be tempting to pick the Jewish soldiers for their comportment and bravery under terrifying conditions in Gaza. Despite the aspersions and vilification thrown upon them by an anti-Israel (anti-Israel is just a sanitized way of saying anti-Semitic) United Nations, European Union, and international media, according to “experts” both legal and military, Alan Dershowitz and Britain’s former Commander of Forces in Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Kemp respectively, these soldiers are arguably the most moral group of fighters in post-biblical times. Stories emerged from Gaza of Jewish soldiers shielding or helping Arab children and being killed in the process. May Hashem redeem their blood.
Another valid choice would be the yeshivah system here that went so far as to cancel ALL vacations so the bachurim could increase Torah learning and daven for the safety of their brethren. Despite the fact that the war basically ended as vacation began in no way mitigates the sacrifice the yeshivah world was prepared to make for its brethren.
This reinforced the truth that all of Israel is interdependent and responsible for fellow Jews.
On the night of June 12th, 2014, three precious neshamos were stolen from the Jewish world, Naftali Frankel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, Hashem yinkom damam. By all accounts these boys represented the pillars upon which the world exists: Torah, service to G-d, and acts of kindness. They were kidnapped and killed because they were Jews. During the period when their fate was unknown, the entire spectrum of the Jewish world unified to an extent that Moshiach seemed imminent. Their story even touched good people of other faiths, and became a cause célèbre of the faction of the world fighting the evils of Islamic fundamentalism. It is for this gift of unity to Klal Yisrael around the world that Naftali, Gilad and Eyal deserve to be considered as “Persons of the Year.”
Yet there is another I choose to recognize as the “Person of the Year.” From the tragedy of “Our Boys” emerged a clarion voice of faith, wisdom, and inspiration; A mother’s voice that addressed a hostile audience at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR). Speaking to the council, she challenged, “This council is charged with protecting human rights. I wish to ask, doesn’t every child have the right to come home safely from school?” These were not empty or partisan words on her part. When Mahmoud Abu Khdeir was found horrifically murdered, she immediately called the family of Abu Khdeir to condemn the murder, offering condolences and condemning any act of violence either by Jews or Arabs.
Other words taken from her speech to the UNHCR in retrospect proved prophetic. She said “It is wrong to take children, innocent boys and girls, and use them as instruments of any struggle.” A month later, the barbarians of Gaza were using their own children as human shields in violation of everything the U.N. ostensibly stands for and in contrast to everything that Rachelli Frankel actually stands for.
Rachelli Frankel’s clarity and integrity make her my choice for “Person of the Year.” Somehow she made us all a bit better. She remains an inspiration to the world. Rachelli Frankel has my vote for mother of the year, and any office she chooses to run for. While Israeli Prime Minister Frankel has a nice ring to it, U.S. President Rachelli Frankel sounds even better.
Shanah Tovah to all Hamodia readers (especially those who read my column).
Meir Solomon is a writer, analyst, and commentator living in Alon Shvut, Israel, with his wife and two children. He can be contacted at msolomon@Hamodia.com.