IDF soldiers on Gaza border
IDF soldiers on Gaza borderPhoto by Yossi Zamir/Flash90

In a stirring show of unity between civilian and soldier, the Israel Dog Unit (a nonprofit specializing in service dogs) and Fighters for IDF (a nonprofit advocacy group for disabled veterans) drove to a far-flung base of the IDF’s Nachal battalion to brighten up Independence Day for the soldiers stationed at the Gaza border. Beginning at noon of Independence Day, the two volunteer organizations brought lively music and served a festive meal to nearly 150 combat soldiers.

A representative of Fighters for IDF addresses the soldiers.

Yekutiel Ben Yaakov, director of the Israel Dog Unit, remarks that it is a refreshing change from his organization’s usual pursuits. “We have spent nearly the entire preceding week in the fields around Netanya, searching for a missing person; we found him only yesterday, perhaps four hours after the Memorial Day siren. Although we are all somewhat worn out, we are nevertheless delighted to join forces with other volunteer agencies to honor the dedicated service of those stationed on the Gaza border.”

The day ended on the sour note of early warning sirens blaring throughout Israel’s southern region. Far from being deterred, volunteers declared that it made the experience more meaningful.

“We aren’t always around this part of the country,” commented one IDU volunteer. “It’s important that we can stand with the residents of the south and the soldiers stationed here, right when it really matters.”

Volunteers and soldiers after the event, shortly before the rocket attack.

The rockets were ultimately determined to be harmless. Israel’s counter-missile systems did not fire, and the incoming projectiles were allowed to fall into empty fields.

Fighters for IDF did not comment on the event.