I’m not sure that you all know, but the majority of Israeli’s after their military service usually would go to travel the world for a few months.
The hotspots are usually south and Central America, Thailand and India area, some would go to Europe or North America, but the common thing between all of them is that it is usually a place where it is cheap to live so you could spend as much time traveling as you can.
You get to meet new people, visit beautiful places and basically collect experiences, it is called the “big trip”.
Every parent knows that if it wasn’t enough for the past 2-3 years to have sleepless nights while their kid is in the military he is expecting a few more months now, while sometimes it is even harder because they are so far away, there is no internet connection sometimes, they go on long treks (Hikes), sometimes for weeks.
That leads me to the story that I don’t think was heard enough in the global Jewish media.
I believe you all heard about the earthquake in Nepal and the area, as I said, the far east is a place where a lot of Israelis go after their military service, means that the last week there was a lot of panic in a lot of Israeli families and friends knowing their loved ones might got hurt.
Even I, personally knew some of them. I followed to news updates at least 3 times a day and saw how the reports were pretty positive, telling how the number of Israelis who haven’t made contact went down every few hours or so, which feels like a big rock from your heart is falling and you feel better and better, and so it was from around 1,012 Israelis missing, to the hundreds, then to tens, then to 7, 3, and then 1.
This entire time, people share on Facebook and the media posts with names and lists, photos and requests by friends and families and even from people who travel and survived,”if someone heard, please let us know”, and so it went through Facebook and the media, a lot of people could release a sigh of relief.
Except from one family.
Or Asraf, that name is now known for everyone in Israel, he was the last Israeli who wasn’t found then.
During his military service, Or Asraf served in the IAF’s Sayaret Shaldag commando unit and in Egoz, a unit in the Golani Briagde. He took part in Operation Protective Edge, and was moderately wounded in fighting in the Saja’iyya neighborhood of Gaza City. He left the army following his recovery and had gone traveling in the Far East with members of his unit, The Chief Of Staff in the IDF praised Or for his Military service and contribution.
Or’s mother had been photographed standing at the airport holding a banner asking Israelis returning from the country for information about her son.
Everyone engaged whether on Facebook, publicity, money, everything they could.
His friends from the special unit “Egoz” decided they are flying with his father Patrick to India to find him and bring him home. “The objective was clear: We are bringing Or home,” Patrick said. “When we arrived in the area, we realized the task would be extremely complex if even possible at all. The area had suffered a terrible earthquake. It looked like an atomic bomb had been dropped. It was a ravine that was inescapable on both sides. The area was simply destroyed.”
During the searches for Or, Patrick and the team encountered trekkers who had survived the quake. “We never lost hope for one moment, because people had come out alive even five days later,” he said.
He said that his son’s body had been found just 100 meters from an area from where he could have been rescued.
“When it caught him, it happened in a split second and he had no chance,” said Patrick. “This is a dangerous place with falling stones, but we wanted to bring Or home no matter what.”
“It is symbolic that his friends in the unit, who stand here with me, acted out of camaraderie and even as they endangered their own lives,” he said. “I am proud of the State of Israel that sent a rescue team and more, when bigger countries did not even send one rescuer.”
Personally I think it’s amazing how thousands were found and were saved from this horror, although we did lost one kid, when we could’ve lost more, but we all hurt as if we lost them all, this shows the significant of every person in Israel to others, he became everyone’s kid, we all hurt his death as if we knew him. Thousands attended his funeral in Israel.
The Israeli delegation to India included 260 members which is the largest out of all the countries, the delegation includes doctors that opened a field hospital to treat the wounded (Nepalese mostly) , delivered 3 babies, made operations that saved lives, and also search and rescue teams.
This is not the first or 5th time Israel had done such and amazing thing.
The earthquake that reached 7.8 on the Richter scale was the worst seen in Nepal for over 80 years. The death toll currently stands at over 7,500. More than 100 teams from abroad and some 131,000 Nepali soldiers are working to save lives and find the bodies of the deceased. With each passing day since the earthquake, the chances of finding survivors among the wreckage move closer to zero.
Meanwhile tens of thousands of people in the capitol of Kathmandu are still staying in public parks. Some lost their homes and others are afraid to return to their houses out of concern that an aftershock could strike and completely destroy what’s left of the buildings.
Another story that wasn’t on the news enough this week was about Tal Nachum, a young Israeli girl who was also in her “big trip” in Mexico and got killed in a horrible car accident when a bus hit her car.
The “big trip” is one of the most amazing things we do and we get so much out of it, it is unfortunate that sometimes, some of us, will not come back.