Iam glad to inform you that I am alive and back home. There were times when it looked as if I would not come out alive. Many of my close buddies fell in battle.
At one time, the Jordanian artillery pinned us down for 20 hours. Finally, the order came to attack. My task as a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces is to go before the troops and clear the minefields so others can follow. We went forward under the heavy fire of the Arab Legion—the best Arab fighters. The first three nights we could not sleep at all until we reached Nabi Samuel, a fortress built around the grave of the prophet Samuel.
There we were allowed to sleep for four hours. We had not been permitted to take off our shoes for two weeks, so the skin on our feet was burned due to the heat and heavy boots. I used the water I was given to drink to wash my feet. Then I fell down and slept. The four hours passed as if they were four minutes.
When I awoke, I saw several soldiers writing little prayer notes and sticking them into the cracks between the stones of the grave of the prophet Samuel. Some of my buddies noticed I did not write any notes. One asked me, “What is the matter with you? Why don’t you pray to the prophet Samuel and thank him that you are still alive?”
We are comrades in the same battle for the freedom of Israel.I said, “If I were to pray to every prophet, I would have no time left. Instead, I pray to the living God, the God to whom the prophet Samuel himself prayed.”
Then the soldier said, “You are different from the others. What do you believe in?”
“I believe in God and in the Messiah, the Son of David, who came to deliver His people from their sins and is coming again.”
Well, that really started something. One asked, “Why did they call a man like you into military service?”
“I have been a soldier in the Israeli army for the past 20 years,” I answered. “I fought in our War of Independence in 1948. And as far as fighting for Israel is concerned, nobody has ever questioned my citizenship or my qualifications.”
Then some of the other men said they also were waiting for the coming of the Messiah ben [son of] David.
If I were to pray to every prophet, I would have no time left. Instead, I pray to the living God, the God to whom the prophet Samuel himself prayed.As soon as they mentioned the Messiah, a number of soldiers started singing the well-known credo, “I believe in the coming of the Messiah speedily and in our time.”
The song was wafted by the winds across the hills, and the echo went on and on. Some had tears in their eyes as they repeated, “I believe in the coming of the Messiah. I believe in the coming of the Messiah.”
I said, “I, too, have joy in my heart because of the Messiah because He loved me and gave His life for me.”
I sat down with one of the men who sang about the Messiah, and we ate breakfast together. He put his arm around my shoulder and said, “We are comrades in the same battle for the freedom of Israel.”
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It is good to be back home with my wife and children and especially our new son, whose name is David.
—The Friends of Israel Archives, written during the Six-Day War in 1967
Zvi Kalisher (1928–2014) was a Holocaust survivor who was known for his unswerving faithfulness to the Lord and his bold witness in Jerusalem. He was with The Friends of Israel for more than 55 years.