“Dvekut baMesima”

As a 22-year-old lieutenant, Giora Romm became the first fighter pilot ace (shooting down five enemy planes) of the Israel Air Force during the Six Day War of 1967. It was my great good fortune and honor to have met Giora and interviewed him (and his wife Miriam) for The Lion’s Gate (Penguin Sentinel 2014). Giora passed away this Saturday after a long battle with cancer. He was 78.

In honor of this great and good man, I’m excerpting below a part of one of “his” chapters in The Lion’s Gate. I cite this specific passage because, although Giora is speaking of the mindset of a fighter pilot, what he’s saying applies equally to you and me as writers and artists. 

Giora Romm in 1983 with sons Assaf and Yuval

The passage is Giora speaking:

When I was fifteen, I applied for and was accepted into a new military boarding school associated with the Reali School in Haifa. The Reali School was the elite high school in Israel. The military school was a secondary school version of West Point. We attended classes at Reali in the morning and underwent our military training in the afternoon.

I don’t believe there is an institution in Israel today that can measure up to the standards of that school. Why did I want to go there? I wanted to test myself. At that time in Israel the ideal to which an individual aspired was inclusion as part of a “serving elite.” The best of the best were not motivated by money or fame. Their aim was to serve the nation, to sacrifice their lives if necessary. At the military boarding school, it was assumed that every graduate would volunteer for a fighting unit, the more elite the better. We studied, we played sports, we trekked. We hiked all over Israel. We were unbelievably strong physically. But what was even more powerful were the precepts that the school hammered into our skulls.

First: Complete the mission.

The phrase in Hebrew is Dvekut baMesima. 

Mesima is “mission”; dvekut means “glued to.” The mission is everything. At all costs, it must be carried through to completion. I remember running up the Snake Trail at Masada one summer at 110 degrees Fahrenheit with two of my classmates. Each of us would sooner have died than be first to call, “Hey, slow down!”

Second: Whatever you do, do it to your utmost. The way you tie your shoes. The way you navigate at night. Nothing is academic.

Third: En brera. “No alternative.”

We are Jews; we are surrounded by enemies who seek our extinction and the extinction of our people. There is no alternative to victory.

Fourteen months after the Six Day War, over the Nile Delta, an Egyptian missile exploded beneath the tail of Giora’s Mirage IIIC. Within moments, Romm found himself hanging by the straps of his parachute, with a broken arm and a leg shattered in a dozen places, looking down from 10,000 feet. Streams of farmers and field workers converged below onto the spot toward which his chute was descending, with the intention, he was certain, of hacking him to death as soon as his feet touched the earth.

No Israeli pilot had survived capture in Egypt or in any other Arab state. Giora was the first. His book, Solitary, (in Hebrew, “Tulip Four,” for his plane’s call sign), is his story of his imprisonment, torture, interrogation, release, and return to service.

“Solitary,” Giora’s true story of his captivity as a POW in Egypt

In my mind, Solitary is a classic of the literature of war. It was my privilege, and my publishing partner Shawn Coyne’s, to bring it out in English translation (by Anne Hartstein Pace) in 2014.

But above and beyond Giora’s heroics in the air and in captivity, he was a great guy, funny, charming, not at all impressed with himself. He never hated the enemies outside his country or those of opposing agendas within, but always (he retired as a two-star general, having served as well as military attache to the Israeli consulate in the US) looked for common ground. I salute you, Giora. You were the best of the best.


Steve shows you the predictable Resistance points that every writer hits in a work-in-progress and then shows you how to deal with each one of these sticking points. This book shows you how to keep going with your work.

do the work book banner 1


A short book about the writing of a first novel: for Steve, The Legend of Bagger Vance. Having failed with three earlier attempts at novels, here's how Steve finally succeeded.



Steve shares his "lessons learned" from the trenches of the five different writing careers—advertising, screenwriting, fiction, nonfiction, and self-help. This is tradecraft. An MFA in Writing in 197 pages.



Amateurs have amateur habits. Pros have pro habits. When we turn pro, we give up the comfortable life but we find our power. Steve answers the question, "How do we overcome Resistance?"



  1. dino game on August 16, 2023 at 1:34 am

    Dino Game is a speed game that was first made for Google Chrome. The game was added to Google Chrome in 2014 as a “Easter egg” to keep people busy when they can’t get online.

    • Ginger Gstar Rayner on August 17, 2023 at 3:56 am

      Beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. Joe Jansen on August 16, 2023 at 5:36 am

    Ahhh, Steve… I was driving into the office this morning and brought up this webpage on my phone. I did the Apple “swipe from the top” to have my phone read to me. My eyes welled up when I heard these words and I had to watch myself in traffic.

    All that I know of Giora Romm is what I’ve learned about him here on Writing Wednesdays, from what you wrote in The Lion’s Gate, and from reading Giora’s book, Solitary.

    I salute him on his passing, and grateful to know about the purposeful life he led. He gave the rest of us who would never fight in a war, never get shot out of the sky, a line of sight into what that experience might have been like. I also see him as a spoke in a wheel or a strand in a web. Learning about Giora Romm in 2014, I thought my fighter-pilot brother would be interested in reading about the experiences of a fellow aviator, and you were generous to sign a copy for him.

    So while I never met Giora Romm in person, he was important to me personally. Thank you for bringing him to our minds over these years. And feel my hand on your shoulder in empathy in his passing, as you knew him better than any of us and, I’m guessing, called him a friend.

    “He never hated the enemies outside his country or those of opposing agendas within, but always . . . looked for common ground.” That is a mark of integrity. And if that was the only legacy he left, it would be enough.

  3. Tolis on August 16, 2023 at 8:10 am

    I am very sorry for your loss dear Steve. Because indeed what people symbolize is a great loss, the greatest after their own existence.

    Complete the Mission.
    Do everything with your best powers.
    Forbid Alternatives.

    That is the fighter.

    Together with patience, that may also be the wise man/woman.

    Giora cannot die because his spirit and our spirits are equal and we must all reach the goal or die trying.

    I have the book, it is waiting -together with the souls of many great people- in my library to be read.

    I am so rich.

  4. Yvonne on August 16, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Fantastic post—thank you! Just what I needed! “Solitary” sounds like another book to add to my reading list!
    I’m sorry so for your loss, Steve. May Giora rest in peace, and may his family find comfort during this time.

  5. Sam Luna on August 16, 2023 at 9:51 am

    Condolences on the loss of your friend Coach.

    “We are Jews; we are surrounded by enemies who seek our extinction and the extinction of our people. There is no alternative to victory.”

    When I was in grade school my next door neighbor’s son rang our doorbell and handed me an invitation to his Bar Mitzvah. We were Catholic and I had no idea what that was or indeed anything about Judaism.

    My Dad sat me down at the dinner table and said “You should feel honored to be invited to this. And you can learn a lot from this boy. His father is teaching him what all Jewish boys have to learn, which is that no one is going to save their ass, they have to look out for their own. That’s why they are the some of the best businessmen in the world. Surround yourself with boys like him and pay attention to what they do.”

    Being 9 or so years old I was fairly blown away by this little speech. Your post reminded me of that afternoon with my Dad.

    • Joe on August 17, 2023 at 4:11 am

      Appreciate that anecdote, Sam.

    • Joan Di Stefano on August 17, 2023 at 9:50 am

      Thank you for sharing this ! Really appreciate it.

  6. Jackie on August 16, 2023 at 12:29 pm

    Condolences Steve,
    May we observe a moment of silence. In that silence, may we renew our commitment to our purpose in remembrance of an exemplary teacher.

  7. Jeff Korhan on August 16, 2023 at 8:04 pm

    I thought I was tough until I read Solitary. Not even close.

  8. Bing on August 16, 2023 at 8:12 pm

    Praise the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

  9. John Hutson on August 16, 2023 at 11:58 pm

    Your words brought tears to my eyes and touched my soul.

  10. Lucy on August 17, 2023 at 12:55 am

    Did Giora stop and wonder how the Palestinians feel when the Israelis are stealing their land and destroying their cities, victory at all costs?

    • CC on August 17, 2023 at 6:26 am

      It’s our land…By Benjamin Netanyahu

      Apparently, Benjamin Netanyahu gave an interview and was asked about Israel’s occupation of Arab lands.

      His response was “It’s our land”. The reporter (CNN or the like) was stunned – read below “It’s our land…” It’s important information since we don’t get fair and accurate reporting.

      Here are overlooked facts in the current Middle East situation.

      BRIEF FACTS ON THE ISRAELI CONFLICT TODAY…. ( It takes just 1.5 minutes to read!!!! )

      1. Nationhood and Jerusalem. Israel became a nation in 1312 BCE, Two thousand years before the rise of Islam.
      2. Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern State of Israel.
      3. Since the Jewish conquest in 1272 BCE, the Jews have had dominion over the land for one thousand years with a continuous presence in the land for the past 3,300 years.
      4. The only Arab dominion since the conquest in 635 CE lasted no more than 22 years.
      5. For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, they never sought to make it their capital, and Arab leaders did not come to visit.
      6. Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in Tanach, the Jewish Holy Scriptures. Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Koran.
      7. King David founded the city of Jerusalem. Mohammed never came to Jerusalem.
      8. Jews pray facing Jerusalem. Muslims pray with their backs toward Jerusalem.
      9. Arab and Jewish Refugees: in 1948 the Arab refugees were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews. Sixty-eight percent left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier.
      10 The Jewish refugees were forced to flee from Arab lands due to Arab brutality, persecution and pogroms.
      11. The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is estimated to be around 630,000. The number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands is estimated to be the same.
      12. Arab refugees were INTENTIONALLY not absorbed or integrated into the Arab lands to which they fled, despite the vast Arab territory. Out of the 100,000,000 refugees since World War II, theirs is the only refugee group in the world that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own people’s lands. Jewish refugees were completely absorbed into Israel, a country no larger than the state of New Jersey .
      13. The Arab-Israeli Conflict: the Arabs are represented by eight separate nations, not including the Palestinians. There is only one Jewish nation. The Arab nations initiated all five wars and lost. Israel defended itself each time and won.
      14. The PLO’s Charter still calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. Israel has given the Palestinians most of the West Bank land, autonomy under the Palestinian Authority, and has supplied them.
      15. Under Jordanian rule, Jewish holy sites were desecrated and the Jews were denied access to places of worship. Under Israeli rule, all Muslim and Christian sites have been preserved and made accessible to people of all faiths.
      16. The UN Record on Israel and the Arabs: of the 175 Security Council resolutions passed before 1990, 97 were directed against Israel.
      17. Of the 690 General Assembly resolutions voted on before 1990, 429 were directed againstIsrael.
      18. The UN was silent while 58 Jerusalem Synagogues were destroyed by the Jordanians.
      19. The UN was silent while the Jordanians systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.
      20. The UN was silent while the Jordanians enforced an apartheid-like a policy of preventing Jews from visiting the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.

      These are incredible times. We have to ask what our role should be. What will we tell our grandchildren about we did when there was a turning point in Jewish destiny, an opportunity to make a difference

      • Joan Di Stefano on August 17, 2023 at 9:58 am

        The irony that Religions preach Peace and the members rationalize war

      • Marin Saint-James on August 17, 2023 at 11:21 am

        Well said. So good to hear from someone who actually has a handle on the truth. Everyone who cares about this world should read Robert Spencer’s “The Palestinian Delusion”.

  11. Garry on August 17, 2023 at 1:32 am

    A great post Steve. Sorry for your loss my friend. He was a kind and good man.

    Just one thing Steve; point three on the list, maybe was true then. It’s not now, nor has it been for a very long time. Such a sentiment can serve to hamper development, and generate a kind of siege mentality, which is a cul de sac. Every individual and nation responds to goodwill, mutual respect, and honesty. I truly believe that. This is the development and evolution, I referred to. Open hearts and minds, open doors to conflict resolution.

    Onwards Steve!


    • Marin Saint-James on August 17, 2023 at 11:40 am

      “Every individual and nation responds to goodwill, mutual respect, and honesty. I truly believe that.”

      With all due respect, that is a blind, naive, ignorant, and deadly belief. For the love of God, look at real world history; look at the world now. As of today, 43,822 deadly Islamic terrorist attacks since 9/11. Every Islamic nation belies your belief; the belief system and “holy” writings of Islam thoroughly destroy that notion. Islam’s fundamental motivation is to convert or slaughter every non-Muslim, which will bring about the “peace” for which they are so ignorantly lauded in the mainstream media. These are simple, horrible, devastatingly sad facts, easily discoverable by any honest seeker of the truth. First and foremost on their death list is the nation of Israel and every Jewish person on earth, but the West is being targeted by every form of stealth and overt jihad, and is in freefall to a state of total dhimmitude. For Israel at the very least, point three stands. Only Peter Pan and his ilk think that believing in something can make it true. And they never grew up.

  12. Dave H on August 17, 2023 at 1:45 am

    I’ve had “Dvekut baMesima” written on a post-it note on the wall of my office since first hearing of the phrase from The Lion’s Gate years ago.

    I still try to follow it to this day.

  13. Kate Stanton on August 17, 2023 at 3:46 am

    What a beautiful tribute to your friend, Steve. An amazing story about an amazing man. I most definitely will be checking out “Solitary” to find out the true meaning of what it takes to be resilient.
    Loved this:
    “The best of the best were not motivated by money or fame.”


  14. Leti on August 17, 2023 at 3:48 am

    This disturbs me: ”We are Jews; we are surrounded by enemies who seek our extinction and the extinction of our people. There is no alternative to victory.”
    Sounds a lot like pro-zionist propaganda.
    And like Lucy above, I also wonder what he thought about the massacre of the Palestinians?

    • Michael Beverly on August 17, 2023 at 7:03 am

      Like all warriors, I’m sure he felt he was in the right.
      This is the problem when settling disputes with war, everyone thinks they’re on the right side, and in the end history gets rewritten or glossed over.
      Nobody in America seems to care how much land and peoples have been displaced by US aggression because winners are the good guys and good guys are the winners.
      It’s a simple formula to be a hero, simply win.

    • Shoshana Bryen on August 17, 2023 at 7:26 am

      He wrote it in his time: in 1948 7 Arab armies invaded the nascent State of Israel intending to annihilate it; in 1967, the Arabs went to war again, intending to erase Israel; in 1973 on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, the Arabs went for it again. They failed because the IDF knew then “there is no alternative to victory.” You are looking at things today – Camp David, Jordan peace treaty, Abraham Accords, etc.
      Only the Palestinians (a name adopted in 1967) still claim to be ready to annihilate Israel – “River to the Sea” means something to them – and actually, the PLO was never reconciled to Jordan either, which occupied the West Bank illegally from 1949-67. There has been no massacre of the Palestinians. But the “second intifada” killed more than 1,000 Israelis, mostly civilians, including people at a Passover seder and children in a pizza parlor – the US equivalent is 40,000 – in less than five years. Consider that this would be the equivalent of about TWELVE 9-11s in less than five years. Would Americans be nice about it? Yet Israel has continually offered negotiations to settle a never-settled border. The Palestinians refuse. It is foolish of them.

  15. Peter Brockwell on August 17, 2023 at 4:16 am

    Steve, thank you for sharing with us. I’ve just ordered Solitary. I hope you feel the heartfelt support from me, Joe, Kate and the others.

    Although I’m not Jewish, I certainly feel that my opportunity to realise my ideas in the world, and my wellbeing, are most definitely threatened with moment-by-moment extinction by all those who want a piece of my scarce time and energy. Giora’s principles are so relevant. What an incredible person.


  16. jodypaynesays on August 17, 2023 at 4:52 am

    Facing extraordinary obstacles today, I am so grateful for this post. Solitary will be on my bookshelf ASAP. Thank you.

  17. Kenneth N Proudfoot on August 17, 2023 at 6:34 am

    Excellent story and witness.
    Thank you for sharing this with us.
    Best- Ken

  18. Brad Graft on August 17, 2023 at 7:21 am

    R.I.P. Giora. Our condolences, Steve. Great tribute and subsequent posts.

    BTW– if you haven’t read “The Lion’s Gate”– it’s fantastic. Steve does a fine job covering multiple IDF warriors. The ultimate underdog story.

    • Joe on August 18, 2023 at 11:56 am

      Agreed, Bull. Fine historical narrative.

  19. Fiorella on August 17, 2023 at 9:22 am

    Inspiration and hope, thanks Steven

  20. Terry Grier on August 17, 2023 at 9:48 am

    I do not know who you declare anyone a hero that kills others. Especially in the name of a god.

    The agression was self inflicted when the west decided or the United Nations voted for the partition of Palestine and the creation of an independent Jewish state.

    Same goes for Native Americans and all others.

  21. Bobette Buster on August 17, 2023 at 11:32 am

    A “serving elite” – indeed. Thank you so much for sharing this extraordinary man’s story.

  22. Doug Setter on August 17, 2023 at 2:52 pm

    Thank you for the Giroa’s. In this time of victimhood and “Poor Me” syndrome, we need the stories of dedication, honor and endurance.

    R.I.P. General Giroa.

  23. Regina Holt on August 17, 2023 at 6:28 pm

    It’s a huge hit to our little community to lose Giora. Because he matters and in a sense, we know him in what he has shared from the gut about what happened to him. I look at life differently because of his story. There is a question asked often in my “you suck” voice. The question is: “What’s the point?”

    Giora answers the question differently than you SP. And I need you both in my ear and on my side. Thanks for sharing about him. I love that shot off the two of you at UCLA for book release of Solitary.

    Until we meet again, Giora, thanks for your story!


  24. Mitch Bossart on August 18, 2023 at 3:08 pm

    Thanks, Steve.
    Your mini blogs each week are one of the only things worth reading online 🙂
    I’m gettin’ the book.

  25. DEBRA HANDLER on August 20, 2023 at 7:24 am

    I enjoy all your blogs, and the recent ones on resistance self-doubt even more than usual. The timing of your teaching is perfect.

    But this one on Giora’s 3 rules has changed my life. Again, the timing is pure synchronicity. Giora’s wisdom is so clear and welcome.

    Thanks so much for your excellent blog. The wisdom you share is so worthwhile. I’ll get the book.

  26. Lera Baker Smith on August 20, 2023 at 10:43 am

    Thank you. Awesome story. My brother served (as an American) in the 6-day war. RIP, Giora.

  27. monkey mart on August 31, 2023 at 2:55 am

    This blog is one of my favorites. It is a pretty enlightening subject to discuss. It is of great use to me in finding solutions to many issues. It presents an abundance of opportunities, and its method of operation is lightning fast.

  28. lol beans on August 31, 2023 at 2:55 am

    You are providing such an invaluable resource, and yet you are giving it out completely free of charge. I always appreciate it when I come across blogs that recognize the importance of giving out a valuable resource for free.

  29. john smith on September 19, 2023 at 3:55 am

    Very good article; it provided me with a lot of useful knowledge. As a blog, please continue to share more. I’ve added it to my bookmarks so that I can keep up with you.

  30. lol beans on October 3, 2023 at 2:04 am

    Wonderful contribution. I would want to express my gratitude to you for the time and effort that you put into producing this insightful and engaging post.

  31. Henry Smith on November 30, 2023 at 10:24 pm

    This is a very interesting post content was very hopeful.

  32. Ginkgo Retail on January 16, 2024 at 9:25 am

    Discover the ultimate Best order management system for small businesses at GinkgoRetail with our leading Order Management System (OMS). Our tailored OMS is designed to empower small enterprises, offering streamlined order processing, precise inventory management, and efficient fulfillment. Seamlessly integrate your operations with our user-friendly system, tailored specifically to meet the unique needs of small businesses. Experience the efficiency and growth potential with GinkgoRetail’s Best Order Management System for small-scale enterprises.

Leave a Comment

Patronu aradığında sürekli hasta olduğunu söyleyerek iş yerine yalan söylüyor porno hikaye Patronu artık bu kadarının gerçek olamayacağını ve rapor görmek istediğini dile getirip telefonu kapatıyor türbanlı Olgun kadın hemen bilgisayarının başına geçip özel bir doktor buluyor ve onu arayarak evine davet ediyor porno Muayene için eve gelen doktor olgun kadını muayene ediyor ve hiç bir sıkıntı olmadığını söylüyor brazzers porno Sarışın ablamız ise iş yerine rapor götürmesi gerektiğini bu yüzden rapor yazmasını istiyor brazzers porno fakat doktor bunun pek mümkün olmadığını dile getiriyor sex hikayeleri Daha sonra evli olan bu kahpe doktora iş atarak ona yavşıyor ve istediğini alana kadar durmuyor Porno İzle Karılarını takas etmek isteyen elemanlar hep birlikte evde buluşuyor türkçe porno Güzel vakit geçirdikten sonra kızlara isteklerini iletiyorlar ve hatunlarda kocalarının bu isteklerini kabul ediyorlar seks hikayeleri Hemen ellerine telefonları alan elemanlar karılarına video eşliğinde sakso çektiriyorlar porno izle Hiç beklemeden sikişe geçen elemanlar hatunları değiştire değiştire sikmeye başlıyorlar.