Since October 7, too many Israelis have learned to sleep – or try sleeping – as their loved ones risk their lives fighting terrorists in a world that slams our soldiers for killing mistakenly, but rarely mourns when our civilians are killed on purpose. Then, Saturday night April 13, sleep became impossible. Who could snooze with 350 Iranian death-missiles rocketing toward us?

On October 7, as Israelis mobilized spontaneously, to save Israel, we realized what we were willing to die for, and thus what we want to live for. That Herzlian leap of hope trusts tomorrow will be better than today, if we roll up our sleeves to make it happen. April 13 required a leap of faith in the long-maligned State of Israel. We had to trust the military – its intelligence whiz-kids and computer systems, its drone virtuosos and pilots — to succeed beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. Which they did.

We lived the healing. If October 7, every system failed us but us; on April13, every system saved us.  If Hamas taught that high-tech armies shouldn’t underestimate “boots on the ground,” Iran’s misfire justified decades of investment in hardware, software, and our kids, the stars of Start-up Nation’s Star Wars defense-shield. If Taylor Swift went Zionist, she could re-record “Cardigan,” drawing stars around our scars.

Alas, the sleepless hours before experiencing this Israeli-made miracle, drained years off our lives. Nine million Israelis flirted with the Angel of Death that night, right before Passover. This time the Grim Reaper couldn’t pass us over – we and our equally-skilled allies kept shooting him down.
We Troys danced with death, anomalously, amid the pristine beauty of a desert hotel, on a weekend getaway.  As you lounged in the pool, watching innocent Ibex families, it was hard to believe evil Ayatollahs were plotting to eviscerate our innocent family – and others.

Fortunately, our kids – and their soldier peers — displayed two quintessentially Israeli traits.
First, is their ironclad commitment to serve and their easygoing calm about it. Those mobilized, scrambled immediately. The others were ready, as always, to do whatever it takes to defend Israel. This ethos has become second nature to this generation. As my recently-married son said, “we all serve, however we can. We go where we need to go, and we all cope, especially the spouses.”

Their heroism lacks grandiosity because it’s wrapped in the second trait, a flippant sense of humor that’s key to resilience.  Before, some “psyched out” the Iranians by listing the Israeli buildings they hate, then begging, “please don’t knock them down.”

On Hey-We-Survived-Sunday, we saluted a drone operator friend, who was in “dog fights in the air all night,” by toasting his gamer mastery. One daughter photographed her fiancée from above, wearing a normal shirt, then from head-to-toe, wearing khakis, on his way to base. Sidestepping everyone’s surprise that the Saudis and Jordanians joined the remarkable Abraham Accords-enhanced coalition against Iran, my other daughter decided they would claim they shot down aliens violating their airspace just when the Iranians did.

And, inevitably, we passed around Passover-related memes. Before, one asked the Iranians to clarify their apocalyptic timetable, so we knew whether to clean for Passover – or not. After, they accused Iranians of loading warheads with hametz – forbidden bread-like foods – and claimed that, ignoring whatever Israel has at Dimona, Iran targeted Israeli parents’ peace of mind by forcing school closings during Passover cleaning.

These doomsday digs soft-pedaled the sobering reality that mullahs 1,157 miles away, with no substantive complaints against Israel, so hate Jews they tried triggering a second Holocaust. These self-appointed guardians of al-Aksa so hate us they were ready to level Jerusalem if it destroyed us too. And these theocratic, terrorist-loving, darlings of the illiberal liberals, were cheered by the toxic pro-Palestinian hoodlums who hate Israel, Jews, America, and the West.

Our pride in our heroic kids coexists with guilt. We hoped they’d inherit an Abraham Accords Israel of Peace More, making more peace with more neighbors. We wanted to spare them older Israelis’ experience of fighting for their lives while breaking the historic curse of Jews long-threatened with extermination. Alas, time’s gone backwards; they, we, understand what it is to feel surrounded, threatened, attacked.

Fortunately, it’s brought out their best. You can see in this generation a new Israel aborning: patriotic, gritty, idealistic, altruistic – and united. They’re battle-hardened not world-weary; fun-loving not frivolous.

While thanking President Biden, America, and the extraordinary coalition of righteous armies against the Iranians, Israelis’ healthy instinct for self-defense contrasts with too many Americans’ newfound defeatism. Most Israelis seek a counterattack to restore deterrence. This properly punitive strategy reflects traditional military doctrine reinforced by the Mullahocracy’s fear of casualties, given Iranians’ growing restlessness. Alas, too many Americans immediately wondered: “is this enough, will both sides now be satisfied?” They fail to see that appeasing terrorists “for peace,” risks more war – apocalyptic jihadists are never satisfied.

While thanking Joe Biden profusely, he should not have neutralized the American threat of counter-attack so quickly. The Mullahs should spend the next six months at least, fearing massive American reprisals. They attacked America’s ally, and the Iranians, Chinese and Russians must learn that befriending America means much more than it now does.

True, modern Western culture avoids confrontation and abhors sacrifice. My kids and their friends have learned, the hard way, that if you keep tolerating evil, the price you pay when terrorists lash out, keeps soaring.

Professor Gil Troy, a Senior Fellow in Zionist Thought at the JPPI, the Jewish People Policy Institute, is an American presidential historian and the editor of the new three-volume set, “Theodor Herzl: Zionist Writings,” the inaugural publication of The Library of the Jewish People (