Barbecue on the edge of Gaza – with love for the soldiers

Donations from Israel Today readers made a barbecue and small family reunion possible for soldiers on the Gaza border. Thank you!

By Aviel Schneider | | Topics: Gaza, IDF

In times like these, there is nothing more beautiful and important than supporting our soldiers and, if possible, pampering them. And that’s exactly what we did last night in the Gaza Strip. And the soldiers know that they have your support to thank for this. To this end, we invited one of Jerusalem’s most popular restaurants, Machneyuda Restaurant from Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda Market, to prepare a feast for the soldiers. A delicious barbecue with spicy salads from the restaurant menu. From three in the afternoon to seven in the evening, everything was grilled by the restaurant’s best chefs. As the sun went down it started to get cold, very cold. And there were constant booms all around us, explosions in the Gaza Strip.

Then, on command, all 120 men and women pounced on the set table. Happy music in the background and everything was cleaned up in no time. This unit has been operating in the southern Gaza Strip for two months and has surrounded Khan Yunis, where Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar’s terrorist headquarters is believed to be underground. The problem is that he is using the Israeli hostages as human shields. I have been given permission to write that the situation is more difficult than we thought.

Until the last moment, it wasn’t certain whether the barbecue party could even take place last night, because everything depended on their operations in the Gaza Strip. After the incidents the day before, in which 10 Israeli soldiers were killed in the Gaza Strip, we were sure that everything would be canceled. But no. One of my sons is an officer in this unit and so this evening was a double joy for us as a family.

And so yesterday afternoon we went down and helped with the preparations. Anat and I, my daughter and her husband, who had been released from reserve duty for two days. Another son, stationed elsewhere in Gaza, also came by. It was like a family reunion, only my youngest son was missing, he was at the funeral of two of his comrades from the Yahalom unit who fell the day before yesterday, Ron Efrimi and Roi Avraham Maimon.

My daughter and her husband.

I can tell you, the young generation is a gift, we have known some of the young soldiers for years because they are our children’s comrades and we have often met them at our home or elsewhere in the country. If I had time, I would organize such evenings twice a week, it’s not only fun but also gives you incredible satisfaction. These men and women in the army are all our children, and for Israel the soldiers are something sacred. This may be difficult to understand abroad. The people of Israel are never more united than when serving in the army. Everything that is missing on the home front can be found in the army. And then suddenly I see someone who looks familiar. I ask him if his name is Yaron Appel and he says yes. Yaron and I were in the same class in elementary school in Jerusalem about 45 years ago. We hadn’t seen each other since, until last night. He’s a reserve officer who volunteered and was there that evening by mistake. We later discovered that we had served in the same brigade in Lebanon. In Israel the world is even smaller.

What is important is that the young generation is our hope, and Yaron sees it that way, too. Seeing the children around us, with joy and contentment in their eyes after everything they have been through in the last three months is a gift. These young people, all ready to fight to the end until Hamas no longer exists, have a fighting spirit that is second to none. But from talking to them we also understand the reality in which we live. Politics is stronger than their fighting spirit. The Americans are breathing down Israel’s neck and are urging Israel to take its foot off the pedal in the Gaza Strip. The world fears a multi-front war with the North, but not the soldiers who want to fight until glorious victory. In other words, the Israeli ground operation in the Gaza Strip is entering a new phase, which the soldiers do not like. The goal has not yet been achieved, the hostages are not yet home and Hamas is not yet finished. Whatever the case, we enjoyed every moment in the south with the soldiers yesterday, and we thank you for that.


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