When I grew up in Philadelphia in the fifties as a classic baby boomer, I was not alone with infatuation for the legend of “Davy Crockett at the Alamo,” made a legend by Walt Disney. That coonskin hat from age five became part of my trademark. I got books out of the library and knew every detail of the battle of the Alamo and Santa Anna’s “no quar- ter” massacre of the defenders of the Alamo. Even the reinforcements who came to the rescue of the Alamo were massacred to the last man by Santa Anna.
Yet only six weeks after the massacre of every last defender at the Alamo, General Sam Houston rallied his troops with the call of “remember the Alamo” to lead another army of brave Texans to rout Santa Anna’s army at the Battle of San Jacinto to declare a free and independent Texas. I felt inspired by the saga of the Alamo to become an American patriot. It was inspiring to know that people would give their lives for a free Texas.
At the time of my bar mitzvah, my father bought me a book entitled Siege in the Hills of Hebron. My father wanted me to know about the Israeli Alamo story, the saga of brave fighters of the Etzion Bloc, a garrison of Jewish defenders on the Hebron-Jerusalem road who were massacred to the last man on the very day of Israel’s declaration of independence.
Yet another “Davy” (David Ben Gurion) declared that it was the bravery of the defenders of the Etzion Bloc that stopped the Arab Legion advance on Jerusalem, there- by saving Jerusalem. When I read this book on the nights following my bar mitzvah, that was the beginning of the pride that I took in the defend- ers of Israel.
I made a quiet wish at my Bar Mitzvah — to see the Alamo and to see Cfar Etzion. These seemed like impossible dreams. The Alamo was at the other end of America, and Cfar Etzion was in waste, conquered by Jordan.
Well, seven years after my bar mitzvah, I made it to Israel, and stayed. Not long after my arrival, I took a bus to see the renewed Cfar Etzion, pioneered by the orphans of the Cfar Etzion massacre of 1948. Little did I know then that 15 years after that visit, I would make my life in the new city of Efrat, from where I could see Cfar Etzion from my liv- ing room window.
And Forty years after my bar mitzvah, I finally made it to the Alamo, as the guest of the Jewish community of San Antonio.
The dark, modest crusty charcoal rooms in the Alamo are carefully preserved by proud descendants of the Texans who defeated Santa Anna and the Decainos, the Spanish speaking Texans who fought with their American settlers, so that Texas would be free.
The charcoal-like crevices where the Alamo defenders were slaugh- tered brought to mind the bunker in Cfar Etzion where their defenders had been massacred, which the orphans and widows of Cfar Etzion have preserved as a modest memori- al to the fighters who died so that the Jewish nation would be free.
The respective battle cries of “Remember the Alamo” and “Remember Cfar Etzion” rallied the fighters of the new state of Texas in 1836 and the new state of Israel in 1948, in each war for independence. In each battle, the defenders fought to the last man, knowing full well that anyone taken prisoner might be slaughtered, because the real command of the Santa Anna for “no quarter” and the real command of the Mufti for “total Jihad.”
Indeed, during the 1948 war, 599 of 600 Idf prisoners of war were tortured and executed.
The legacy of these battles for America and for Israel is never to underestimate the intent of an adver- sary who declares a total war against the US or Israel.
The war with Santa Anna and the war with the Mufti, the cousin and mentor of Yassir Arafat, is total war, offering no quarter for those who will defend either the American or the Israeli way of life.
Mutual fate would have it that the struggle of the U.S. and Israel have- somehow become intertwined and interdependent –especially in the war on Radical Isalm
When we hear the ringing last words of Colonel Travis, the last commander of the Alamo in 1836, and the inspiring last words of Moshe Zilberschmidt, the last com- mander of Cfar Etzion in 1948, we can feel the collective chill in our American- Israeli spine and stand proud of thee heroes of our respective American and Israeli heritage.
The call of Travis and Zilberschmidt is clear — for the American and Israeli peoples to stand strong and to never surrender our principles of freedom in the face of tyranny. The time has come to renew a proud nascent patri- otism in both the U.S. and in Israel. Remember the Alamo. Remember Cfar Etzion.
“I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism, and of every- thing dear to the American character, to come to our aid with all dispatch. If this call is neglected, I am deter- mined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country.”
Colonel William Barret Travis, February 24 1836, Commander of the Alamo garrison, twelve days before the defeat and subsequent massacre of the remaining defend- ers of the Alamo
“In this war, you understand, there are no prisoners.” General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna ,1835
“What are we, and what are our lives? Nothing at all. The main thing is the work that we are doing, by which we live. We will strike the enemy whenever we can get to him; we shall not permit him to carry out his designs. Our reply is Netsach Yerushalayaim the eternity of Jerusalem!”
Moshe Zilbershchmidt, May 2 1948, Commander of Cfar Etzion, twelve days before the defeat and subsequent massacre of the remain- ing defenders of Cfar Etzion.
“I declare a holy war, my Moslem brothers! Murder the Jews! Murder them all!” The Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al Husseini, 1948
The legacy of “Remember the Alamo” and “Remember Cfar Etzion”: Know Your Enemy
And The ultimate connection between the destiny of the USA and Israel:
At a time when so much attention focuses on the Iranian threat to Israel,
How many people know that Iran schools indoctrinate a new generation to conduct total war against America?