Hey, you. Yes, you, the female soldier who hid behind a bush during the terror attack on the Egyptian border and "shamed the IDF." You, the soldier who was reprimanded by her commanders because they feared you were kidnapped. You, the soldier who stayed alive. I have seven words for you: You have nothing to be ashamed of.
The order to "storm" the enemy calls on you to advance and shoot, when all of your instincts - which have been working properly since you managed to avoid that ambush set by the boys in the third grade - are telling you to run away. It is true that you have been trained to be a fighter, and your comrade, who was apparently at the right place at the right time, became a hero. But you know what? It is fortunate that you are still here to doubt your conduct and perhaps be a bit envious of your friend, though maybe you realize there was nothing else you could have done. Maybe you will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and have trouble sleeping at night for a few years, but guess what? You're still here. And when you will go on that big trip after the army and see the ocean, you will know you made the right choice.
My little brother is also a combat soldier, and his unit is currently stationed near yours at the border. To him I say: If you ever find yourself in a situation in which terrorists are shooting at you and there is no backup – there is only one thing your family wants you to do, and you know what that is. To us, you will be a hero. Even grandma, who fought for the country's establishment and was taken prisoner by the Jordanians - even she will be proud. She told me so herself.
Israelis tend to sanctify death more than they do life, but the fact of the matter is that cowards stay alive. So, I say to my brother, remain a coward forever. If it's you against them and there is no chance of survival, there is no reason for you to give up on our Shabbat dinners just so people will call you a "hero" and justify your stupid act with empty words. They will say that you were the 'salt of the earth,' and we will want to die silently. All of our lives we will only want to die. I'm selfish, I know. I always have been.
So, my brother, when you find yourself in such a situation, there is only one thing you can do – run away. As far as you can. Hide and stay alive. Those accolades on the altar of death are not for you. Leave them for others. Let them be remembered as heroes while you start a family. So you won't be called a hero, and maybe you will have some explaining to do, but you will be alive!
Don't get me wrong, little brother. I am not asking that other people fight your battles for you. I simply ask that the order to "storm" and the words "at any cost" not prevent you from protecting yourself and that the title "hero" won't blur your senses.
Ronit Katzir, 29, is a journalist who served as an education non-commissioned officer in Hebron