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Day 82 — They honored us, but it is YOU who deserve the honor!



Yesterday was one of those amazing days that you never imagined you'd find yourself in. Indeed, this has been the most trying season in the history of the modern nation of Israel. And yet, amid such horrible suffering, we find so much good.


Elana and I (but really, all of you who have helped) were honored by the commander of the 630th Battalion. We were told the day before to come because one of the units within the battalion would be receiving their state-of-the-art helmets and bulletproof vests that you bought for them. I had no idea the length to which they would go to bless us.




Almost to Egypt!

We had to drive deep into what is called the Gaza Envelope. These are the border kibbutzim surrounding the Gaza Strip. When we arrived, we were almost in Egypt. Most of these communities were decimated on October 7.


We met two of the soldiers at Kibbutz Be’eri. You may have heard of Kibbutz Be’eri in the news. It was one of the larger Kibbutzim that were attacked. Out of a population of 1,000 residents, one of every 10 people was murdered.


A little too close

As we were leaving to head south, there were suddenly two or three large booms that could not have been more than a few hundred meters from us where an Iron Dome took out two incoming rockets. You could see the clouds of smoke in the sky where they intersected. It was a reminder that we are still at war, although Hamas is running out of rockets, thankfully.


We stopped at the area where the Supernova Music Festival took place. There were pictures on posts of every young person killed in the field where the concert took place. And there was a memorial where many of them were mowed down by gunfire. I was surprised to see tour buses there with Orthodox Jews from outside of Israel.


When we arrived at Kibbutz Nir Oz, the battalion commander met us there with about a dozen other top soldiers. They took us on a tour of the Kibbutz explaining house by house what happened there. So many homes had been completely burned. In one home, the only thing still standing was the safe room. At every house where people were kidnapped, there are pictures on the door of those from whom we are still waiting to come home. There are so many heroic stories, and heart-wrenching ones as well. We will share more about that in the coming days.



They honored us, but it is YOU who deserve the honor!

When we arrived at the Kibbutz where the 630th Battalion is living (all of the kibbutzim have been evacuated, and they are makeshift army bases now), we met with the unit for whom you bought the equipment. They presented us with a plaque, thanking us for helping them. The battalion commander said to me that if not for the help of people around the world, there is no way that the army would be functioning.


After the ceremony, we went to a banquet that they prepared with the entire battalion. Once again, they mentioned how grateful they were that you provided helmets and vests for them. And we ate a delicious meal, what we call al-ha’ash (on the fire). They served wings, kebabs, chicken thighs, and of course, hummus and Tahini.


What struck both me and Elana was the unity amongst the soldiers. They genuinely love each other. I’ve never seen so many men hugging and kissing one another. Most of the soldiers are reserve soldiers. Once a year they come together and train. Some of them have been together for over 20 years. They are like family.


When it was all over, we drove back up the Gaza Envelope to Ashkelon. What an amazing day!


On Monday, we will go to Kibbutz Zikim, where we will hand out the bulletproof vests you purchased for their security team.





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Jeff Alsop
Jeff Alsop
28 Ara 2023

So good to see the unity between the solders..God Bless all of you, praying for you all here in ''Corn Country'' Illinois!

Beğen

The world is concerned about civilians in Gaza, who are not targeted, but the rockets, which are still launched, are aimed at civilians in Israel.

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