Thousands of twelfth graders from across the country are marching Tuesday and Wednesday in Gush Etzion, in a demonstration honoring IDF combat soldiers and units. The march is being held in the region for the first time, after being held for years in the Golan Heights.
The Social Security branch of the Ministry of Defense leads the march every year, which is designed to encourage Israeli youth to serve in the IDF and contribute significantly to Israel's defense. The marches expose students to life in the IDF and the battle history of the Gush Etzion region. IDF veterans from the Second Lebanon War will also tell their stories during the rally and students will get to tour local IDF bases.
The march will be led by tour guides from the Kfar Etzion Field School, which partners the project along with the Social Security Department at the Ministry of Defense, the IDF, the Gush Etzion Regional Council and the Tourism Association of Gush Etzion.
Davidi Perl, head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, welcomed the march's move to the region Tuesday morning.
"Gush Etzion's participation in the march is important," Perl stated. "The story of the establishment and constant struggles faced by the Gush Etzion communities, the devotion and sacrifice of the IDF fighters who fought here to protect Jerusalem [before Israel achieved independence] - it is important that youth learn about this and know their history."
"Combat soldiers in Gush Etzion gave their lives defending our people and our country - it is fitting that we should walk in their footsteps," he added.