Palestinian provoking IDF soldier while anti-Israel activists film the interaction
Palestinian provoking IDF soldier while anti-Israel activists film the interaction צילום: Im Tirtzu

We Israelis are extraordinarily fortunate. Though we live in one of the most violent and unstable regions in the world, we nevertheless sleep peacefully. We contemplate the incessant existential threats coming from Iran and its proxies Hezbollah and Hamas, knowing that, if necessary, we have the ability to defend ourselves.

This perspective is not misplaced, nor the wishful thinking of people who do not want to confront reality. Our confidence is well founded and is firmly rooted in our belief, reliance and admiration for our IDF soldiers.

Our soldiers are us, the full array of the People of Israel. They are our kids, our nephews and nieces, grandchildren, and our friends’ and neighbors’ kids. They are the ones we watched grow up, who are now watching over us.

Expectations are high for our soldiers; training is intense and ongoing, and the soldier is expected to put ego aside and bond with the unit.

Sadly, but not surprisingly, for many who seek Israel’s diminishment or, worse, its demise, our soldiers have become the personification of their perception of an unjust, oppressive State.

For Palestinian terrorists, soldiers are of course a prime target. Less violently, but with equal malevolence, “human rights tourists,” a.k.a. rabid Israel haters, regularly visit soldiers doing guard or checkpoint duty for the express purpose of confronting and harassing them.

These provocateurs love to stick their cameras or cell phones a mere inch or two from the stoic soldier, screaming at him, all the while hoping to get a reaction that can be uploaded, manipulated and become grist for the mill of yet more proof of the criminal, heartless and murderous character of the IDF.

If that wasn't enough, our soldiers are facing daily attacks and vilification in the international media, online, on campuses, in international institutions, and even from far-left Israeli NGOs like "Breaking the Silence" and "B'Tselem."

It is hard enough to defend Israel against the very real threats from terrorists and fifth columnists within our own borders; but to add to that the need to tolerate such abuse is asking an enormous amount from 18-year-olds.

That is why Im Tirtzu, Israel’s largest grassroots Zionist organization, is establishing a new special Soldiers Division, whose mission is to support the welfare, interests and morale of our soldiers.

This new Division will intensify our efforts to thwart the harassment of our soldiers by having our activists show up at the same locations as the harassers and film them as they film the soldiers.

Thus, by "filming the filmers," we will confront those seeking to harass soldiers with a taste of their own medicine. This has been a very effective strategy in the past, and we expect it to be more and more necessary as COVID travel restrictions abate, and anti-Israel activists once again flood into Israel.

We will also regularly visit bases, checkpoints and guard posts in Judea and Samaria, the Gaza border and throughout Israel, in order to express our support and gratitude for our soldiers by hand-delivering treats, snacks and good wishes. This not only puts a smile on their faces, but no less important it shows our soldiers that they are not alone. It also inspires fellow citizens to become more active in their own support for soldiers.

Lastly, our Soldiers Division will work to change overly harsh protocols regarding our soldiers that shackle them in the face of ongoing threats. The ability of a harassing provocateur to literally scream in the face of a soldier is one such example of a protocol that needs to be changed.

We believe that more needs to be done. Therefore, we are inviting those who revere and appreciate our soldiers to support our current crowdfunding campaign that aims to raise the funds needed to finance our new Soldiers Division.

Donations are not only be tax-deductible, but will also be matched, dollar for dollar, by existing Im Tirtzu supporters who are eager to see a widespread embrace of this vital initiative.

Our soldiers are an indispensable component of the Zionist vision of a sovereign Jewish State; furthermore, support for our soldiers must be pro-active, not just emotional.

Make a difference today and help protect our soldiers by clicking here.

Our soldiers are our pride and joy. Let us show them that just as they support us, we want to be supporting them.

Douglas Altabef is the Chairman of the Board of Im Tirtzu. He can be reached at dougaltabef@gmail.com.