By Martin Lenkowsky
The timeless adage says history repeats itself, and Tamarac resident Teva Benshlomo just discovered that to be a painful truth.
Benshlomo, a Massachusetts native living in the Isles of Tamarac, was enjoying a pleasant Saturday morning with family in Haifa, Israel when things abruptly changed after Hamas terrorists had invaded.
It became a moment of troubling déjà vu for her because on a quiet Saturday afternoon in October 1973, almost 50 years ago to the exact day, she was also in Haifa when Egyptian and Syrian forces invaded Israeli soil, marking the start of the Yom Kippur War.
Last Saturday, she had no idea what was happening until friends called her, telling her what was happening. “At the beginning, we got vague information,” she said.
Israelis were stunned in 1973 by the Arab sneak attack. “It was a terrible time,” she said. “The morale in the country went way down. It has never really recovered. I think 3,000 Israeli soldiers were killed.”
This time around was even more shocking. “Nobody expected another one,” she said. “Everybody thought we have the best army in the world, and our borders were secure. There’s never been anything close to this, with terrorists running rampant on a killing spree. This can’t be happening. Where was the army? Why weren’t there more soldiers on the border?”
Benshlomo once lived in Israel years ago. She met her late husband, Arnon, while she was living there. Coincidentally, her husband had been a tank commander in the Sinai Peninsula during the Yom Kippur War.
She visited Israel to attend the wedding ceremony of her son, Yoni, and daughter-in-law, Hila. The joyful event was planned for Friday, Oct. 13, but has since been canceled. Sadly, Hila lost a close friend to the terrorist invasion.
According to Benshlomo, the mood in Israel is now one of anger, anger, and more anger. “It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out,” she said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Benshlomo says she’s always been a peace activist.
“But I hate to say it. It’s kind of changed my attitude of making peace with the Arab countries,” she said. “There was so much hope. Now, it’s two different mentalities, two different cultures. I don’t know if it can be bridged anymore.”
- Martin Lenkowsky moved to Coral Springs from NYC in 1982. He has a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College. He has been both writer and editor for a number of South Florida publications since 1983. He considers features writing his specialty.