by Joni Sussman, Kar-Ben Publisher
June 7, 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War. Kar-Ben has just released a new book that explores the Six-Day War and the concept of heroism through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy. In The Six-Day Hero by award-winning YA author Tammar Stein, the main character, Motti, knows that war is coming. Israel is only nineteen years old—the same age as his brave older brother, Gideon—and the tiny country is surrounded by enemies. Motti knows his older brother is a hero—but through the six days of the war that will decide Israel's fate, he discovers other heroes in surprising places. He may even be a hero himself. The book introduces young readers to a pivotal chapter in Israel's history, while opening a provocative discussion about what makes a hero.
I remember the Six-Day-War. It’s hard to believe it was 50 years ago. Glued to our television, we watched the war unfold. The photo below, one of the most famous photos of that war, shows the young paratroopers of Israel’s 55th Paratroop Brigade liberating the Kotel on June 7, 1967. (The 92-year-old photographer, David Rubinger, died March 3.) A few years ago, when I attended the Jerusalem Book Fair in 2013, I had the opportunity to meet Yitzhak Yifat, the young man in the middle of this iconic photo.
I was attending a Shabbat service at the Kotel with Women of the Wall, (Neshot Hakotel הכותל נשות in Hebrew) a group of Jewish women from Israel and around the world working to achieve the right for women to wear tallitot, pray aloud and read from the Torah at the Kotel. The day I was there, there were many reporters in attendance. They were gathered around a gentleman in the crowd -- it was the young soldier from the photograph, Yitzhak Yifat!
“We came today to identify with them [the women],” said Dr. Yifat, a gynecologist from Kiryat Malachi, in the interview with reporters. “The Kotel belongs to everyone and not just one segment of the population.”
My hero. I got to shake his hand.