On Yom Hazikaron: Remembering Michael Levin, one of the many IDF heroes who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for Israel

I was in the studio audience last night for a special Sunday Yom HaZikaron episode of Tuesday Night Live in Jerusalem –  one of the largest English TV show broadcast out of Israel.

The show included an interview with the Mother and twin sister of fallen IDF Hero,’Lone Soldier’ Mikey Levine z’l who was killed in action in the Second Lebanon War in 2006 – one of three soldiers killed on August 1, 2006 in clashes with Hezbollah in the southern Lebanese village of Aita al-Shaab.

Michael Levin

Born and raised in my hometown of Philadelphia, Michael grew up in a traditional, American Jewish household, was active in USY and attended Camp Ramah in the Poconos. In February of 2001, Michael came to Israel for two months and attended the Alexander Muss high school program. After graduating high school, Michael attended the NATIV USY year-long program in Israel. In his NATIV yearbook he wrote:

“You can’t fulfill your dreams unless you dare to risk it all”

At the young age of 16, Michael already decided that he wanted to move to Israel and join a front-line combat unit in the IDF. He followed his dream three years later, and immigrated to Israel.

Upon arrival in Israel, Michael wasn’t about to tolerate the built-in delay that allows most new immigrants several months to settle in and adjust to the Israeli way of life before starting IDF training. Michael fought for — and received — special permission to join the IDF almost right away. Once in, he fought again to get into the elite Paratroopers Brigade, becoming one of the few former Americans ever to do so, joining the elite paratroop unit #890 shortly thereafter.

In summer of 2006 Michael had received special permission to travel to the United States to visit his family, but when he heard about the outbreak of the war he decided to end his trip and return to help his unit. He went straight to his commanders and demanded to be sent up north to defend Israel against Hezbollah. Seven days later he was killed.

On Tisha B’Av Michael Levin was laid to rest at Mount Herzl Cemetery. His family flew in from the U.S., where they were joined by literally thousands of people from all over Israel who came to pay tribute to his memory, his heroism.

His parents founded the Michael Levin Lone Soldier Center in Michael’s memory, which provides immigrant soldiers who don’t have family in Israel with Shabbat meals, housing, furniture and social events and support.

Michael Levin made the ultimate sacrifice for the Jewish State that he loved so much.

May G-d console his family among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

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