“Treat the warriors’ feet”

“The army marches on its feet, so they should be healthy.” – In a radio interview, foot reflexologist Meital Lahav thanked the readers of Israel Today for their help.

By Anat Schneider | | Topics: Gaza, IDF
Foot treatment on the bus. Photo: Meital Lahav

This week there was a headline in the Israeli news: “Soldier dies after contracting a dangerous fungus in Gaza.

These are strains of fungi resistant to medical treatment. At Assuta Hospital in Israel they fought for this soldier’s life, but the fungus spread in his body and killed him.

A very important project we are involved in translates as: “Treating the feet of our fighters.” The project has grown and developed significantly since we first spoke about it back in November.

There is already a bus that looks like a clinic inside. It has special treatment chairs and everything needed to treat soldiers’ feet. The bus moves from place to place. Wherever it can get access to the soldiers, the bus comes.

The fighters’ feet have to withstand a lot. Photo: Meital Lahav

The importance of this topic has been growing over the past week. This is in light of the new phenomenon in which the wounded soldiers who arrived at the hospitals in Israel, were found to be suffering from micro-organisms that Israeli doctors are not accustomed to seeing. The soil in Gaza is abundant with specific bacteria, fungi and molds that are rarely found in Israel. The Association for Infectious Diseases is troubled by the amount of antibiotic resistant microbes, and the infections found among soldiers who were wounded in the Gaza Strip.

The contact with the soil and the mud there causes exposure to [antibiotic] resistant bacteria, as well as molds,” says the chairman of the Association for Infectious Diseases Galia Lahav.

As a result, the soldiers’ foot care workers decided to equip everyone who comes to them with the Lamisil spray that helps prevent foot fungus. And if the soldier being treated already has fungus on his feet, the Lamisil spray helps treat it and prevent infections.

After the treatment, every soldier receives a spray against athlete’s foot. Photo: Meital Lahav

One of the soldiers’ most difficult challenges is that they cannot take off their shoes – sometimes even for up to a week, in order to be ready at all times for sudden encounters with Hamas. This creates pressure on their feet leading to warts, blisters, ingrown toenails, and fungus between the toes and on the soles of the feet. They suffer from this while fighting, and at the end of each day many are barely able to stand.

Thanks to the donations we received, we were able to purchase a significant amount of Lamisil spray. Our ultimate goal is to equip every soldier with a kit that includes this wonderful spray.

But not only that!

The project was recently contacted by someone named Elias. He is a Christian Arab from an Arab-Israeli village in the north of the country. He heard the appeal of Meital Lahav, who is responsible for the project, in a radio interview in which she thanked Israel Today readers for their donations. She asked that anyone who has something to offer or donate for the soldiers’ feet, contact her. Elias suggested that she purchase special socks for soldiers. These are socks that they produce using a special technique and materials including “silver ions” and pure cotton. These socks can be worn continuously for a whole week, and they protect the feet.

Elias with the special socks for the soldiers. Photo: Meital Lahav

What’s even more beautiful about the story of the socks, is that they are made in an Arab Christian village. It’s really exciting and touching to see how people from different sectors in Israel are coming together, for the good of the soldiers and the good of Israel in this difficult campaign.

We are now aiming to produce and buy as many “foot kits” as possible, to be distributed as mandatory and basic equipment for every soldier.

As Meital said at the beginning of the project: “The army marches on its feet, so they should be healthy.”


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