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A letter from an Israeli soldier on the Gaza crisis

July 18, 2014 | 12:52 pm

<em>The 24 year-old soldier took this photo from his station near Gaza.</em>

The 24 year-old soldier took this photo from his station near Gaza.

This letter was written by a 24 year-old Israeli soldier called for reserve duty near the Gaza border line.  It was translated by Noga Gur-Arie:

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!

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