Monday, May 4, 2009

St. Louisan-Turned-Israeli-Soldier Honored by Israeli Defense Forces

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2009 at 11:34 AM

click to enlarge Soldiers in Operation Cast Lead, though probably not Smason. - FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/ORENROSENFELD
  • flickr.com/photos/orenrosenfeld
  • Soldiers in Operation Cast Lead, though probably not Smason.
Though St. Louis may be similar to a war zone, at least according to reigning Ass Clown of the Week Brewster McCracken, 21-year-old soldier Chiyya Smason has chosen to go fight for the Israeli Army.

In return for this noble sacrifice (c'mon, Chiyya, don't you know St. Louis needs you?), the Israeli Defense Forces named Smason one of its 120 outstanding soldiers at an Israeli Independence Day celebration in Jerusalem last Wednesday, April 29.

Smason is a crew commander in the IDF's artillery corps and served in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza last winter. The operation, which effectively put an end to 2008's six-month truce between Israel and Hamas, involved a lot of bombing on both sides and also accusations of war crimes by human rights groups.

Smason moved to Yokne'am, St. Louis' Israeli sister city, three years ago with the goal of joining the Israeli Army. "I felt a connection, and I wanted to protect the country. Being in the army is the best way to do it," he told the Jerusalem Post.

His father, Ze'ev, is the rabbi at Nusach Hari B'nai Zion in University City. He attended Block Yeshiva High School and met his wife Chagit during an event to bring the singles of Yokne'am and St. Louis together.

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