In just a few days, it will be October the 6th, 2023 and the state of Israel will honor the 50 years that have passed since the Yom Kippur war broke out. We were then ill-prepared for the onslaught that befell us, and I pray that we will never find ourselves so unprepared again. Indeed, as I see the battle raging across the Ukrainian frontier, I can surely empathize with the dire sense of fear and desperation and they find themselves fighting for their lives and reliant on the arms shipments of the American military industrial complex, just as Israel found itself some 50 years ago. This juxtapose of both fear and courage is best encapsulated by the words of their President Zelenskyy, who said so bravely,
“I don’t need a ride, I need ammunition.”
Yom Kippur is a war that strikes home for me personally, as I am the son to a father who was a tank commander in the Sinai Peninsula. Moshe Katz, my father, of blessed memory was confronted at a very young age with the very horrible realities of warfare in the modern age. He was in synagogue praying with a touch of reluctance about being in shul in the first place as I’m sure he’d rather have been at the beach. I am truly my fathers son who can find meaning and significance in my prayers, but also checks the surf report to see if there’s good waves to be surfed instead. I can imagine my father sitting there in synagogue, when all of a sudden the sirens rang out and my father had to sprint to his base, to his tank, to his unit and to the front lines to face the onslaught of Egyptian armored attacks.
The harsh realities of war devastated my father’s naiveté and terminated his childhood. His innocence ended abruptly as he found himself crawling out of not one, but two burning army tanks. He was amongst that fateful front line of soldiers, unaware of the advancements in Egyptian weapons imports, forced to fight off an onslaught of incoming armored division after division after division. They cut us to pieces for those first few days of the war and were it not for reluctant Henry Kissinger sending armaments to back us up, we might very well not be here today. And so, I created this video to be published in honor of my father of blessed memory, Moshe Katz, the warrior, the man of love and the man of peace, who was also, unfortunately, a soldier of fate.
I loved my father, but he was not able to be much of a ‘daddy’. While the bullets and rockets couldn’t catch him, his heart could not recover from the scars of having to bury friends in the sand. This is in part, my chance to both praise my father the warrior, who held his ground and fought with honor, and forgive the man who left me as a child, unable to cope with the mundane realities of a father’s daily toil. Indeed, this is a reality that we face today in 2023, both in Israel and every day at home. And while peace might be on the horizon with the Saudis, and I pray that this may well be the case, I don’t hold my breath when it comes to the fact that my enemies are sinister, cruel and cunning and have never stopped coming for us in one way or another. Maybe it’s no longer the Egyptian army tanks that come rolling out of the Suez Canal, and maybe it’s no longer the Syrian armored battalions that come off the Golan Heights. Today’s attacks are seemingly crueller and technologically fueled with new horrors. These modern menaces come from Iran with their revolution of death to any whom they deem as Satan. It comes from within my own borders and within some of my Palestinian cousins who strike out against my state and my very existence. Israel is certainly a strange place to live. And so I drink wine not to forget; we must never forget. I drink wine to remember and to honor, to celebrate and to bring cheer and joy in spite of the sorrow and the losses of fathers and sons and sisters and mothers who didn’t get to come home. I drink to the honorable fighters in Donetsk and here at home in my beloved homeland of Zion.
I honor my role and responsibility as a guide here in the land of Israel. It both a blessing and a burden, and carries with it the struggles which I have described here, and the joy of a good life that come on the other side of the coin as well. Thank you for reading with me as I share from my soul. Thank you taking the second to breathe with me and help me carry my burdens as a father and a friend, as the son of a soldier, and as one who tries to honor the sacrifice of those who came before me. Thank you for your participation in this experience of storytelling and listening, and for allowing me to fulfill my responsibility to you as my guest. My name is Amir Katz. I am the son of Moshe Katz, and I am your guide with my Israel Wine Tours. Please join me in welcoming a new hope for Israel’s future with a glass of wine in hand, and hope in our heart for the future of these lands, that we may indeed know peace at last.