There is something about losing a family member or friend to one of Israel's wars or Arab terrorism etc. and joining the masses of the Israeli bereaved that makes one become "a real Israeli."True, it's a terrible rite of passage into the Israeli culture and society. It's a unifying trauma that happens to all stratum of Israeli society, rich, poor, religious, secular, new-comer (olim,) veteran and even some who aren't even Jewish.
Unfortunately, we did "joined the club" pretty early, only three years after our aliyah, when two friends from our American Betar days were killed in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Charles "Chuck" Haim Hornstein חיים (הרן) הורנשטיין הי"ד" and Eli Michael Solomon אלי סולומון הי"ד".
The tie between us and our remaining friends from the 1960's Betar New York seem to just get stronger with the years. We celebrate and mourn together throughout the year and over decades. When my son got married, we were only able to invite one table of friends, so they were the friends. They are like family for us and our children, too. And unfortunately, those Betar friends who ended up remaining in the states seem to suffer terribly from their being so far from us. Israel and Zionism brought us together and keep us together.
Li'ilui Nishmatam, May their souls ascend even higher...May their memories be a blessing, and may we enjoy more smachot (happy occasions) together rather than grave time.
Charles "Chuck" Chaim Hornstein חיים (הרן) הורנשטיין הי"ד"
Eli Michael Solomon אלי סולומון הי"ד"