Tachles with Aviel – TikTok kids fight like lions!

I salute the young generation of Israeli – and how! I just have to get this off my chest.

By Aviel Schneider | | Topics: Gaza, IDF, Hamas
Israeli soldiers in the Jabalya refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip, December 12, 2023. Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90
Israeli soldiers in the Jabalya refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip, December 12, 2023. Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90

I am enthusiastic about our young generation, who have been defending our country and our existence for 75 days. Brave young people, boys and girls, who went to war at lightning speed and without hesitation on October 7th, leaving everything behind – including their mobile devices. A generation that we all thought couldn’t live without their smartphones. A TikTok or screen-addicted generation that we have often referred to as disconnected and weak, who live more in a virtual reality than the real world. With their eyes and fingers only on the screen. Nothing can keep them from the videos, memes and messages, though the world around be burning. And, admittedly, the young Generation Z has also infected the older generation.

But now – take your hands away from the phone and pick up your gun. Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90

Since Black Shabbat, young Israelis who grew up with smartphones in their hands have proven that they are capable of much more than we all initially thought. They immediately recognized the need of the hour and set all else aside. This is Generation Z, where everything happens quickly, like in social networks and the media. They are heroes, courageous and active with an enviable fighting spirit, no less than the generation of fighters of the first pioneers. The barbaric invasion in the south, the war and the entire situation in which Israel is fighting for its existence and survival have awakened them all.

It is impossible to tell all the heroic stories of the fighting in Gaza, from their determination and drive to battle terrorists in face-to-face firefights, to glorious victory over dark forces. These are our TikTok kids and a generation we have often thought of as “digital children” who did their best fighting in computer games. Who among us hasn’t heard of “World of Warcraft” or “Call of Duty”? But now, not with the joystick in hand, but with a rifle and real bullets. Now they are in reality and that made me and many other fathers around me anxious. Now these children are deployed on Israel’s borders, not only in the Gaza Strip, but also in northern Israel on the Lebanese border, in the Golan Heights, at sea and in the air. They are fighting in what is probably the worst war since the founding of the State of Israel 75 years ago. And they don’t complain.

Photo: IDF

Anyone who had even the slightest concern about the next generation, where everything revolves around a touch screen, was wrong. The young generation is our hope, and the young generation cares for the country, their families and their loved ones. In fact, they are proving on the battlefield that they care more for others and those they love than they do for themselves. And their motivation is growing. More and more young people before military service now want to serve in the toughest combat units, instead of in the air-conditioned and cyber units in Tel Aviv. When I talk to young people, I hear the same thing from everyone, just with different words, including from my sons. Life takes on meaning and new proportions. I met young people who are highly motivated. People who love their people and their country so much that they are willing to sacrifice their lives for it. Thoughts that were simply irrelevant until October 7th. A generation of young people born between 1995 and 2010. They follow Generation Y (also known as Millennials) and are the first generation to grow up with smartphones, and are now fighting in the Gaza Strip and northern Israel.

The last will of a young Israeli soldier shows the love and responsibility for this country. Ben Zussman (22) – TikTok generation – fell in Gaza earlier this month. His final words touched the entire nation:

Ben Zussmann (22). Photo: IDF

“I am writing this letter while on the way to the base. If you are reading this letter, something must have happened to me. I am happy and grateful for the privilege of defending our beautiful country and our beautiful people Israel. If something happens to me, I forbid you to mourn. I had the privilege of achieving my dream and destiny.

“You can be sure that I am looking down on you with a big smile. I’ll probably sit next to Grandpa and catch up on what we missed. Each of us will tell what we experienced and what changed between the wars. Maybe we’ll talk a little about politics, too.

“When, God forbid, you sit shivah (the week of mourning), turn the week into fun and joy with friends and family. You know, I envy you. I wish I could sit there with you. And something else. If, God forbid, I am taken prisoner, dead or alive, I will not allow a single soldier to be harmed because of any negotiations for my release. I forbid them to wage a campaign, a battle, or anything of the sort. I am not prepared to see terrorists released in any form because of me. Please don’t misunderstand my words. I will say it again. I left home without even being called up for reserve duty.

“I am full of pride and determination, and I have always said that if I have to die, it would be to defend other people and the nation. May my name never be forgotten.”

I am in love with the young generation and put all my hope on them also in regards to leadership for this country. Not only that, I want to encourage all parents of TikTok children and tell them that you have great children, and that your sons and daughters will surprise you all in times of need, like we in Israel are witnessing now. After all, we are all created in His image. Even if our children do not grow up the way we grew up and the way we would like, they, too, are in God’s image and have talents and gifts that we often only discover later or in times of difficulty. Our TikTok kids fight like lions – and what lions! The Lions of Judah!

“Behold, the people rises up like a lioness And lifts itself up like a lion.”