In these days, many families in Gush Etzion have been left behind without fathers as more and more men are being called up to serve in Operation Protective Edge. There, too, are numerous families where even two or more members are headed to the battlefield, be they regular army or reservists. The difficulty of the situation takes its toll on these families, making it difficult to deal with, especially with summer vacation presently in full swing.
The Gush Etzion Regional Council is attempting to remedy this situation by implementing some very creative solutions to ease the burden on these families. Each community center has made a list of these families, and makes it their business to see that all their necessities are met. In addition, recreational events and dinners have been organized to bring more lighthearted moments into their lives.
The children and youth of Gush Etzion, as well, have been given important jobs where they can contribute their energies in a positive fashion, such as the preparation of gift baskets with sweets, and letters full of encouragement and support to send to all the soldiers who are serving. They also have been handing out Israeli flags throughout the Gush in order to raise morale, show support for the IDF, and solidarity with the residents in the south.
These families have also been issued vouchers which provide free pool passes for these hot days, and 50% discounts for many recreational attractions and businesses.
Davidi Perl, head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, said that “many of our residents are serving in this operation, and we are very aware of how much their absence is felt. The Council is doing all within its power to ease the burden on these families, and we want to thank them for their courageousness in the face of these difficulties, which allows our IDF to do its job knowing that the home front is still standing strong.”