IDF tanks in the Rafah area
IDF tanks in the Rafah areaIDF Spokesperson

The commander of an IDF company fighting in Rafah addressed his men before returning to the battlefield and called on them to fight in unity.

"Here, we stand again moments before entering battle," the commander started. "This time, we were called to duty in the Rafah area. Today, we are in the days of the Omer (mourning period). The days we take on customs of mourning for the deaths of 24 thousand disciples of Rabbi Akiva who did not respect each other.

"Nearly 2,000 years have passed and as we still mourn the past, there are still extremist elements and outlying groups that continue to tear our nation apart from the inside."

He added: "How many more souls will we pay and sacrifice until we understand that we're brothers? Since we don't have any other country. This is the land we prayed for in all the generations.

"There is no way more fitting to mourn and fix the price paid for a lack of unity than by fighting the bitter enemy who rejoices in our deaths and the tearing apart of our people."

The commander continued: "Last week during battles in the northern Gaza Strip there was unfortunately friendly fire when a tank fired at a building containing our forces.

"After a week of fighting in Zeitoun, I rushed to get to the funeral of Gilad Boim who fell in that incident."

He recounted: "I shuddered to hear the eulogy of Chen, Gilad's sister, who said: "We wish to send a hug from here to all IDF soldiers and it is important for us to tell the beloved soldiers from the Armored Corps who fired the shots yesterday that we embrace you and we do not hold anger in our hearts, it is clear to us that your only goal was for the people of Israel. Keep doing your important duty and when you can, come visit.' So much strength, so much love for the nation."

"Company A is a model example for Israeli society. For about half a year the company has been fighting shoulder to shoulder. Right-wingers and leftists. Religious and secular. We are together on the front and our families, who have become one family, are together on the homefront."

The commander concluded: "We will continue to uphold the teachings of Rabbi Akiva, who saw the deaths of his disciples and commanded us to love our brothers as we love ourselves. We will put the disputes aside and unify around one goal: the glory of Israel."