Jewish Journal

Israeli soldiers writing about the Gaza crisis - read their letters

by Noga Gur-Arieh

July 21, 2014 | 8:27 am

This was taken by A., from his station near Gaza.

A letter written by a 24 year-old Israeli soldier called for reserve duty near the Gaza border line:

"Last Wednesday, we received the phone call: we were called to defend our country. Some of us had to put aside studying for Finals and other exams, others left their wives and children behind, some left their work. And so, we kissed our wives and girlfriends goodbye. Then, we packed our bags with pretty much anything we could stuff inside to help make this 'stay' on the field as bearable as possible, put on our IDF uniform and went down south.

We are among the very few who can actually say they are defending and protecting the citizens of Israel. I can't elaborate too much, because of security issues, but we are working with a radar that provides a live warning to the troops and the people living near the Gaza Strip.

Leaving, well, life like this is not an easy thing to do. It is not simple to go back to my days as a soldier, not too many years ago, but in what seems a like different lifetime. Going back to eating army-food, sleeping on sand, guarding at night…

Nonetheless, in spite of the bad conditions and my longing home, I am fully motivated, and very proud to protect the state of Israel. Nothing can stop us. Not the scalding sun, not the life we left behind, and most certainly not the missiles Hamas fires at us.

Unlike previous operations, this time my family is also spending days and nights under fire. This creates a powerful connection, a mutual feeling that keeps us stronger.
I wish we will live to see peace one day, but right now, I only care of one thing – winning!"


A letter written by Sara (23) who was called for reserve duty at Israel's Home Front Command:

"To you, the person reading this letter,

I was called for reserve duty in the middle of the day, while I was with the children I am working with. I cried. It was after the bodies of the three abducted teens were found, after a few days of running for shelter with my children in the middle of dinner, and I didn't know how to contain all of my emotions.

At first, I felt like this reserve duty is interfering with my life, didn't want to go. The children I left behind were far more important to me. Now, 11 days into Operation Protective Edge, I am proud to say I serve in the IDF, and feel like this reserve duty is the right thing to do, the best thing I can do for my country. I am proud in the army I represent. Yes, this war is frightening, and we all want it to end and for people to stop living in such a surreal reality, but this operation is the right thing to do. I hope it will end soon, and wish everyone quiet, peace and serenity. "


A letter written by Yoav (28) who is currently on standby near the northern border line:

"We are now deep into a military operation, an operation we knew was coming as soon as the latest operation came to an end back in 2012. Not because we did not get meaningful results, but because we stopped, held ourselves tight and pulled ourselves backwards while the international community told us how we should live our lives in this unbearable reality where Israeli civilians are being threatened by terrorists who control a civilian population, holding them and the people of Israel hostage.

Today, just like two years ago, we experience this captivity by a terror organization operating in the Gaza Strip, only in this round we are a bit smarter and our defense systems have improved significally. The leaders of this terror organization have also improved their offense systems, but so far we are willing to provide an appropriate response.

What hasn’t changed from the last operation and the one before is the people, the civilians who say over and over again that they are tired of this absurd situation of life under fire. They also say they are tired of the government making decisions shaping their way of life in the shadow of the international community, to which it must always explain our every move. Frankly, I don’t get it. 

The international community, who always tell the state of Israel how it should act in a territory they don’t even know, who don’t understand the consequences of sitting with our hands tight around our backs when facing terror on a daily basis. I am positive you wouldn’t have sat tight if this was your reality.

I am now looking at the WhatsApp messages sent by my Miluim (reserve) unit, and see the people’s spirit of volunteering. Those people work hard every day in order to create a better life for themselves and for their families, and in times of need willing to drop everything and volunteer for reserve duty, so that the people in the line of fire will get a chance for a better, quieter, life.
This is the most beautiful side of Israel."


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My name is Noga Gur-Arieh, and I’m an Israeli Journalist, currently studying for my B.A degree in Media and Political Science, at Tel Aviv University.

I am very socially...

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