Song Of the Week this week isn’t about a song. It’s about a real-life hero.
Of course, there is a song–‘M’nasim’ (Trying), written and performed by Idan Amedi, an Israeli singer-actor-warrior. ‘M’nasim’ is the theme song of the Netflix Israeli drama “Fauda”, which follows an Israeli undercover anti-terrorist unit. The song is a mix of Hebrew and Arabic, like the show itself. It’s also violent and messy, like the conflict it’s describing. The narrator’s head is scrambled, driving late at night, utterly exhausted from killing bad guys, longing to just lay his head on the pillow next to his beloved.
In his youth, Idan Amedi was a martial arts champion. Then he got famous on “A Star is Born” and became a rock star with 5 hit albums. Then he became a successful actor in the international hit “Fauda”. Idan Amedi is a true Israeli celeb.
If you had to guess his backstory, you’d probably imagine a self-infatuated cocaine-sniffing redcarpet-hungry mental midget. But Idan Amedi is happily married and father of 2 tykes. Over the years he has volunteered in an organization dedicated to retrieving the bodies of two fallen Israeli soldiers from Hamas.
And as a commander in a crack unit in the Israel Defense Forces, he did tons of reserve duty, maybe a month and a half every year. Idan led his unit in battle in the current Gaza War for over 100 days until he was seriously wounded. He was rushed to hospital unconscious and unidentified. Three weeks later he gave this press conference.
I find his words deeply moving. This is a singer/actor/warrior/family man/mensch with a deep sense of history. He is a true Israeli Hero. Here’s the full text:
“Good morning everyone, if you can say good morning these days. I want to start my words by sending a hug to the bereaved families, as someone who knows the loss closely, I know that there are no words to comfort the heart. It is important to me that you know that your sons and daughters are my heroes until the end of my days.
In the last three months, I met them in the various sectors, we laughed together, we went to special events together, and at certain moments we even allowed ourselves to cry together. The pain will always remain, but it was important to me that you know that they had a huge meaning, that they are the protector of this people in the moment of crisis we are in as a nation.
On the 8th of January in the afternoon I arrived at the Sheba Hospital burnt and sedated and ventilated. Ironically I was unrecognizable, the name ‘Unknown 22’ was written on my arm tag. I asked to hold this press conference for several reasons. The first of which is to thank the medical staff who treated me with devotion from the moment I was injured in the field.
Another reason why I am here is the deep understanding of the war wounded. In the last few days, I have been meeting them in the various departments, some of them here at the hospital since October 7. If there is one good thing that happened following my injury, it is the ability to be a messenger, to bring awareness to the difficulty and challenges that the injured face. Like them, I also need a long rehabilitation process.
For people of our kind who are used to being independent, who are used to being strong, this in itself is a challenge. To understand that you are injured and sick, to digest that there are things that will take months to renew and restore and to accept that there are things that will never go back to the way they were before.
I ask you, the public, as you supported and were there for me, also be there for them when they are released from the hospitals, give them the place to express their pain, hug and support. Those who ran first, without hesitation and willingly, out of love for the people and the country into the fire, need you now in their difficult hour.
Remember them and make sure they have a safety net to fall back on in case of need. The injuries are not only physical but also mental. In the course of the battles we lost brothers in arms, and were exposed for three months to pure evil from our enemy. There are things that take time for the soul to process and grasp, I have the opportunity and the stage to speak on behalf of all those who experienced this war and ask on their behalf from all professional and civil parties, pay attention to them, be kind and open, accept them with a clean heart and understanding.
The operation in which I was injured was an important and valuable one, I don’t know what has already been published in the media, so I will be careful with my words. For two weeks, together with other forces, we were engaged in exploring the tunnels under the central camps in the Gaza Strip. The things we found kept us awake, the extent and depth of the tunnels, and the special ammunition found there is further proof of the cruelty of our enemy.
On January 8, the date for the destruction of those tunnels and the ammunition found in them was determined. For reasons that are still being investigated, a few minutes before the end of the operation, the explosive device was set off. The tunnels were indeed destroyed, but the accident caused our forces unbearably heavy losses, six fighters were killed and dozens were wounded.
Two of the dead were fighters and members of my team. The late Sergeant Gabriel Blum and the late Sergeant Akiva Yasinsky. Gabri was a professional fighter, a sharp, curious and strong person who always acted quietly and professionally. I had the privilege of knowing him in the war and fighting alongside him. He was a beloved person with inner strength and joy of life.
Akibush Akiva and I have known each other since the age of 19, we were accepted together into the patrol team, trained together and fought in many operations and in the various wars. From Cast Lead through Solid Cliff, and of course in the current war. How can I part from you? For several days now I have been struggling with longings for you that tear my heart apart. I wish I could ever explain to the people of Israel who you were.
The most knowledgeable and professional fighter, strong, kind-hearted, a one-time sniper whose name went before him in the entire corps. Even when I became the commander, I never felt any difference between us, you would catch me at night after everyone fell asleep and correct me, tell me where I did well and where not. You were my moral compass and values.
From the moment I woke up in intensive care I asked if you survived, if you were alive. Just before the explosion, you were still bragging about the mechanical engineering degree you had just finished and managed to throw one last cynical joke at me about the profession I had chosen myself: ‘You see my attitude,’ you said, ‘there are people who do something serious with their lives.’ I adore you and I will love you forever. To the families of Gavri and Akibosh, I would like to say that I am sorry that I did not live up to my duty as commander to bring them home safely. This pain will accompany me like the mark of Cain until my last day.
During the past few years I was part of the POW and Missing Staff for the repatriation of the late Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, Avra Mengisto and Hisham A-Sayed, for years in meetings with the authorized bodies with members of the Cabinet and the Knesset, my friends and I repeated that the problem of the POWs is currently a problem of a few individual families, But if the State of Israel does not develop a strategy as a country for this issue, a day will come and it will become a challenge for many. It pains me to find out that we were right.
The day will come and I will talk about everything. The most important message I want to get out of here is that we must not abandon the hostages once more. During the hospitalization, Agam Goldstein Almog visited me at the hospital, she was kidnapped and returned during the war. The lack of trust she has in the political and military leaders made me think a lot.
The State of Israel was established first and foremost so that every Jew in the world knew that there is one place on the globe that is a fortress for our people, where Jews are not murdered, where our daughters are not raped, where our people are not helpless. In order to rebuild this trust, we must bring them home, all of them. This is our moral duty.
I faced a long rehabilitation, I was seriously injured. The very fact that I am standing here today in front of you today is a miracle. A piece of shrapnel entered my body from the throat got stuck in a vertebra in the spine and miraculously did not hit the spinal cord or a vital artery. I chose to hold this press conference also to ask you to allow me a few months of silence.
I understand the curiosity and I will tell you the full story about how much I’ve been through since the seventh of October until now, but at this point my family and I have to deal with rehabilitation and the challenges I face. My body and mind are damaged but my spirit is stronger than ever. I will return to create, sing and act and if God gives me strength I will also return to fight for my country. Mother don’t be angry.
My spirit returned thanks to the people of Israel who enveloped me from the first moment with prayers and love. I received thousands of messages, visits, letters and calls. This thing is not obvious to me and just as it will take me time to digest everything that has happened to me recently, it will also take me time to digest and contain the amount of love I have received. Thank you all.
Before ending, I want to thank my family and friends, someday I might be able to repay you for your kindness and giving to me. You taught me once again what true friendship is. To my children, Yael Shirin and Jonathan Israel, you are my strength to get up every morning and get stronger so l can do anything, swing you in the air and teach you to ride a bike.
To my wife Miriam, my Amazon, I love you. Anything I say will only underestimate your inner strength and optimism. You are a rare gem that I received as a gift in this life. I’m sorry I worried you, you knew you married a madman. I have time now to compensate you for the pain I caused. To my parents and the eldest brother of you I gave everything that I have in my life, in a reformed world it should be the other way around, the little boy should take care of you when he is old enough. Sorry for the heartbeats I missed you. I love you with all my heart.
We have a task now as a nation, to stay united, not to fall apart, to do good, to speak good. To prove to those who sacrificed their lives for us, who were injured in our defense, that their sacrifice was not in vain. There is no more important task than this. Am Yisrael Chai.”