'Sleepless nights': Canadian's sons called up to fight for Israel on two fronts

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Adam Snukal doesn’t relish the thought of his eldest son descending into Hamas’ secret tunnels to wage a subterranean war that could come at any time.

But the former Calgarian said if the fighting is severe enough, it’s a possibility his 25-year-old son, Ezra, could do just that.

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“He’s trained in explosives, he looks for and blows up tunnels,” said Snukal, a lawyer who’s lived in Israel for 10 years.

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“Ezra’s a strong guy — if any (wounded colleagues) need to be carried out, he’s a prime candidate to do that.”

Hamas is known to have constructed an elaborate network of tunnels beneath parts of the Gaza Strip to conceal and house fighters, weapons and supplies.

While combat engineer Ezra’s a reservist, he’s been called up years after doing his compulsory military service and is now at an army base in the south awaiting a possible deployment into Gaza.

It comes more than a week after Hamas militants invaded Israel, killing about 1,400 people, most of them civilians, while taking dozens more as hostages.

“No one has any idea how bad or complex this can get . . . to be sure, we’re having sleepless nights,” said Snukal.

Adding to that complexity is the fact his sons could be waging a two-front war. Snukal’s 23-year-old son, Samuel, has been called up to serve on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, where guerrilla group Hezbollah has been trading intermittent rocket fire with the Jewish state since the latest war began.

Samuel, said his father, is familiar with the region, having done his prior military service there.

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“We pray that the war doesn’t expand, it has far-reaching implications — we’re accepting of that potential reality,” said Snukal, who expresses his Canadian roots by playing as a goalie in an Israeli hockey league.

Critics of Israel, including pro-Palestinian protesters in Calgary, call Israel’s bombardment of Gaza and its decision to drive a million of its people from their homes in the territory’s north war crimes and genocide.

And they say the roots of the conflict go beyond Gaza to Israel’s often brutal 56-year military occupation of the West Bank.

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said at least 3,000 Gazans had been killed in the bombardment, 2,000 of them women and children.

But Snukal said his country has no choice but to take harsh measures to destroy Hamas given the atrocities they’ve committed and the obstacles they pose to peace, and “reset” the relationship with Palestinians without the hard-line group.

“This is an ethical, moral, religious and political obligation on so many levels, and you have to separate the West Bank from Gaza,” he said.

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“Arabs deserve to live their lives in peace and tranquillity.”

His sons and family, he said, have no doubts about the need for and morality of their military service.

“We’re extremely proud of both of our sons and they’re proud of doing what they can, they see their futures here,” said Snukal.

He was speaking from his home in Modi’in, located between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, which was well-removed from Hamas’ ground attacks on Oct 7.

“There were sirens here, but if there were any rockets (coming our way) they were intercepted by the iron dome (missile defence system),” said Snukal.

At least six Canadians or those with direct family ties to Canada have been killed in the war while two more remain missing, Ottawa has said.

[email protected]

Twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn

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Originally posted 2023-10-17 18:26:42.