• Miri Eisin is adamant that Israel cannot just be Jewish or a democracy, but it has to be both | Photo: PXHere

The Colonel Who is a Mother of Three

Tal Hartuv - 14 March 2023

With tourism being one of Israel’s major industries, it is important that tour guides are up to date with societal changes and new discoveries. To keep informed about recent uncovered archaeological treasures, cultural innovations and shifts in the regional conflict, tour guides are required to attend annual refresher courses. There are plenty of lectures on offer, but one lecture is sold out barely before it has been announced: Miri Eisin’s lecture on geopolitics.

Immigrating from America as a child, Miri Eisin spent years serving in the army advancing to the rank of colonel, making her part of the only two percent of women who have ever become colonels in the Israeli forces. She even outranks her husband who also has made a career in the army.

“Miri Eisin’s lecture on geopolitics is sold out barely before it has been announced”

Now retired from the army, the knowledgeable, educated, and experienced military woman is known to all sectors of Israeli society. She first became a familiar face in everyone’s living room back in 2006, when Israel was in the middle of the Second Lebanon War and under much pressure from the international media. Appointed as the new foreign media advisor to the Prime Minister, the married mother of three, rose to the challenge.

Her expertise in intelligence served the country well in her multi-television appearances on international hostile media stations. With her specialization in intelligence, military service, and flawless English, she gained credibility abroad while navigating the unenviable task of defending Israel during the Intifada, the hearings at The Hague and the Second Lebanon War.

During that war, Miri Eisin was required to leave her husband and three small children and spend five days a week up north near the Lebanese border. In her purse she always carried a photo of her children, not knowing if she would see them again. It was a wrenching time for Miri Eisin. Not only did her children not see her for days at a time and weeks on end, every time she was on television, her two-year-old would hug the television screen and cry for his mommy. The middle daughter also found it hard. When she would see her mother on television, she cried because her mommy was not smiling. Miri came up with a plan. When on TV she promised to put her finger near her chin as a secret sign to her daughter that her mother was really okay.

After the war ended, Miri finally went back home to be with her beloved children. But those weeks by the Lebanon border had had a profound effect on her. The screech of the Katyusha rockets and the wail of the sirens robbed her of future restless nights. It took a long time for the colonel to settle down and just be able to sleep through the night.

“Miri Eisin is adamant that Israel cannot just be Jewish or a democracy, but it has to be both”

Miri Eisin may have put her army days behind her, but whether it be for Israeli media, or lecturing at the esteemed International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, or the Israel Ministry of Tourism, one of Israel’s most cherished public spokespeople is still in high demand wherever she goes. And no more so than today, while Israel is undergoing internal struggles. A rare voice of reason among a passionate and heated debate about judicial reform, Miri Eisin, a passionate Zionist, is adamant that Israel cannot just be Jewish or a democracy, but it has to be both.

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