Golani Troops Say Gomel Blessing at Kotel

Soldiers of hard-hit brigade leave front for first time in operation, say blessing recited after safely emerging from danger.

Oranit Etzer, Ari Yashar ,

Golani soldiers at the Kotel
Golani soldiers at the Kotel
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation

Soldiers of Golani's 51 Battalion arrived on Tuesday afternoon to the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem to say the gomel blessing, a blessing recited after safely emerging from a situation of danger.

The combat soldiers left the field of battle for the first time since Operation Protective Edge began over a month ago, and went directly to the Kotel where they were led in the prayer by their regiment commander Yisrael Friedler and the division rabbi.

The Golani Brigade has borne a heavy cost of the fighting in the Hamas terror enclave of Gaza, which has left a total of 67 Israeli soldiers and civilians dead.

Thirteen Golani warriors were killed on July 20 in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza; MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) blamed Israel's "misplaced pity" as being responsible for the deaths, since the IDF warned residents it would enter the area, giving Hamas ample time to prepare its lethal "welcome."

Despite the heavy losses, organizers of the event at the Kotel stated "throughout the war we saw great miracles. Only someone deep in Gaza, who is aware of the various operations we conducted and of the great dangers we were in, can understand the extent of the providence that accompanied each of us."

Religious and secular soldiers alike took part in the prayer at the Kotel, reciting the words thanking G-d, 'Who bestows goodness upon the accountable, Who has bestowed every goodness upon me."

"Together with the great pain over the loss that has visited the people of Israel, with the murder of our friends, soldiers and commanders (who were killed) in sanctification of G-d's name, we see an obligation to express the great divine providence that saved many of our soldiers from death, and not to deny the goodness of G-d, may He be blessed," said the soldiers.

Many visitors to the Kotel approached the Golani soldiers to thank them for being at the battlefront defending the nation, and to tell them how they are praying for the soldiers' safety and success.