Every word hewn in stone
What a privilege it was for all of us to read Ze'ev's commentary without having to cast doubt on his reliability, his considered assessments, his desire to serve the greater cause without submission to any pressure.
Ze'ev Schiff didn't make any concessions, neither to himself nor to others. He demanded of himself the utmost in seeking the truth. To discover it. And to report on it uncompromisingly. Israel's security, and primarily the Israel Defense Forces, were accorded a faithful mirror, a clear voice, professional judgment, nearly every day - and all without any desire either to beautify or to blacken.
What a privilege it was for all of us to read Ze'ev's commentary without having to cast doubt on his reliability, his considered assessments, his desire to serve the greater cause without submission to any pressure. Without being affected by winks, without conceding his professional conscience.
It is difficult to be objective. And it is especially difficult when every day you have to judge and every day you have to be judged. Ze'ev stood up to this without flinching. Not that he didn't care, not that he was alienated - rather he knew that sparing the rod would hurt the nation.
Yet despite all his abundant objectivity, he inspired love for the IDF. He told his readers how difficult it is to be on guard and to sound the warning every day. How dangerous it is to predict dangers in time, to take risks in thwarting them, to get to the bottom of them. In his way, which inspired respect, he explained better than any organized, official source of information that security is a national mission and that the IDF is the envoy of a nation in the most chilling of situations, the most terrible of tests, which occur in the blink of an eye. And when you have failed it is irreparable, and when you have succeeded you have brought salvation.
More than he was a journalist, he was a teacher, a teacher for the perplexed in large numbers. Clarifying that which is not obvious, and illuminating what is in the twilight, and sometimes the twilight where the difference between life and death hides. Ze'ev was not concerned with self-justification. He expressed both historic and strategic justice. He did not try to glorify, but rather to interpret. He reported on a dangerous and sublime mission of citizens in uniform, at the front, facing dangers. And he himself became an envoy whose voice penetrated the heart and the mind.
Ze'ev Schiff will truly be missed. He was a unique individual. An individual who never lost the uniqueness of his staunch character.