JERUSALEM - "I love being part of the Jewish state. As long as it goes on, we have to continue fighting for it."
In this hard-fought war, Sally Oren's words are hard spoken. Israel has just called her first-born son Yoav back to duty. Next week, he will be in uniform, fighting Hezbollah as a special forces solder in southern Lebanon, where eight Israeli soldiers died last week.
Sitting at a kitchen table drinking coffee with Sally, she tells you her husband Michael could have lost his life in Bint Jbail 23 years ago. That struggle to protect Israel, some say, was this nation's Vietnam. Michael came home with harrowing memories he didn't like to talk about.
Today, as Israel's new war in Lebanon widens, Sally and Michael's beautiful daughter Lia is also on active duty, a 20-year-old counseling fellow soldiers traumatized by battle. And their youngest, freckle-faced Noam, 16, like all Israeli youths, is expected to serve in two years. Even Michael, a 51-year-old reservist, is back in uniform.
The thing you discover talking to them is that Sally and Michael were both born in the U.S., she in San Francisco, he in New York. They could move their entire family back to America and escape all this. Instead, they choose to stay, even if it puts the people they love in the line of fire.
This family believes, with Iran and Syria supporting Hezbollah, this is a fight for the survival of their nation, and the survival of the Jewish people. For Sally, that means everyone in her immediate family has to put on an army uniform, hoping someday there will be a generation that won't have to fight.
Sally Oren is one mother, among many, who loves Israel that much.