September 25, 2018

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Y. Ben-David: Israel’s Nighttime Superman (Judean Rose)
Y. Ben-David was the pseudonym of a man who was quiet and unassuming in his everyday life. A talented engineer, he eschewed the ways of the big names in his field, preferring to go about his work with diligence but without fanfare, as a relatively unknown, but loyal cog in the wheel. Like Clark Kent, however, he was leading a double life.

Everyone thought Clark Kent a mild-mannered reporter. No one knew that in reality, he was Superman, a guy with superpowers who battled the most monstrous people and evils imaginable—and WON.

Superman was this buff handsome guy with a cape, while Clark? He was just this nice guy with

glasses. Even the woman Kent loved, Lois Lane, overlooked him. Lois was, meanwhile, nursing a serious yen for Superman, never suspecting that Clark and Superman were one and the same guy/superhero.

You’d think it would make Clark Kent boiling mad. But he just sucked it up. It came with the superhero territory.

Y. Ben-David, a secret superhero in the flesh, would put in a day’s work at the office, then come home to battle evil antisemites at night, online. Armed with nothing but a keen knowledge of Jewish history and current events, he would confront the haters. And just like Superman, when and where he was needed, Y. Ben-David was there.

Meanwhile, no one at the office had any inkling of his extracurricular superhero work.
I first learned of Y. Ben-David’s true identity 10 months ago, the day after he left a lengthy and intelligent comment on my piece, Ten Most Hateful Points About Kerry’s Post-Abstention Speech. He wrote, in part:
I was not surprised at all at what Obama and Kerry did. I was expecting it. They both view Israel as an anachronistic, colonialist vestige that has no right to exist. However, as smart politicians who reached high positions without having any real credentials they, as Democrats, felt they had to play up to influential Jews by pretending they “love Israel” (BTW-any time anyone like them or TV commentators prefaces his comments with “I love Israel”, you can know they really despise Israel).
There were open hints of this in the past…when Obama refused to send a high-ranking official to the big Paris demonstration in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo Massacre. Obama didn’t view the attack as terrorism, he thinks of it as understandable payback for the legacy of French colonialism Same with his comment about the Jewish victims of the Hypercachere attack as “random folks in a deli”.
Kerry also showed what his real views are when he snuck in an underhanded antisemitic comment which was “while the US is cutting its budget, it in increasing its aid to Israel” thereby implying that Jews are taking food out of the mouths of hungry Americans…which is nonsense since virtually all the aid money is spent in the US as a subsidy for the American defense industries.
Now, I always note a thoughtful, intelligent commenter, so I filed the name Y. Ben-David in my mind for future reference. But it wasn’t long before I heard the name again. In fact, it was the very next evening.
A friend and I were in a car on the highway coming home from an event, when my friend shyly asked if I’d seen a comment from Y. Ben-David on my latest blog. Knowing that my friend, while deeply Zionist, is not especially political, I wondered how she knew this.

“Y. Ben-David is my son,” she told me, a note of pride in her voice. “He goes on all the anti-Israel websites to fight the haters. He knows everything about the State of Israel, everything about Jewish history. He fights the haters with facts.

“I kept telling him he had to read your blogs. So he did. He likes what you write,” said my friend, who added, “No one knows he does this, so don’t tell anyone. It’s why he doesn’t use his real name. He doesn’t want anyone to know.”

I could picture this man at his computer. Scholarly, earnest, someone who loved his people and his nation. And now I was proud of him, too. Why not? He was one of my people, doing this amazing thing, expecting no praise, wanting none, doing it all anonymously from a pure heart. One of the best!

I never got to meet Y. Ben-David and now I never will. At least not in this life. He died suddenly on Monday morning, without fanfare. It was the same unassuming way he’d lived his life, as a mild-mannered engineer by day, but a fearsome warrior for Israel at night, in the privacy of his study. His ultimate struggle had occurred in private, too.

I paid a shiva call to my friend today, and she reminded me that her son had done this amazing work, and how no one knew about it, how everyone thought he was just this quiet guy who kept to himself. As I was leaving, my friend clasped my hands hard, tears in her eyes, and said, “If there is any way you can commemorate him, the work he did, we would be so grateful.”

There would be no photo of him to accompany my piece. No airing of his real name. And in fact, my friend let on that Y. Ben-David had more than one alias. His influence was wider than anyone could have imagined.

No one knew it was him, but he was out there fighting the Richard Silversteins, Brant Rosens, and +972 Magazines of the world, every single night. Google Y. Ben-David and you’ll see he was everywhere. Fighting the bad guys, and doing it right, with provable facts and intelligent analysis.

Y. Ben-David was a warrior for his people and his nation, which he saw as indivisible.

The loss is keen.

May his memory be a blessing and may his family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

[EoZ] Y. Ben-David’s actual email address was named after Bar-Kochba, meaning that Varda’s characterization of him as a “warrior” is more on-target than she perhaps realized. He commented here hundreds of times since 2011. Baruch Dayan Emet.

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