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.