Moments Before Entering Gaza

Golani Brigade during a training exercise (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)

Intense training, practices at the firing range, equipment checks and morale – lots of it. This is what Golani Brigade combat soldiers experienced over the past few days, right before the forces entered the Gaza Strip. “We will come back with victory in our hands!” – are the prevalent words among the soldiers as they are waiting at training bases in the South. While their families are at home worrying, the soldiers themselves are waiting to enter the Gaza Strip. “Families are anxious and are stressed, but we are not afraid. We want to go into Gaza and complete our mission in the best way possible,” explains Sergeant Inon Biton, a Golani Brigade combat soldier. “This is our mission, this is why we enlisted,” First Sergeant Moshe Vider, a friend of his from the same division, adds immediately before he was called to an important mission.

They pass the time – waiting for the final call up, unsure of when or if they will return home – by joking, playing soccer, having motivations conversations and doing anything else that to help break the thick tension in the air. “They called us up Saturday afternoon, and we’ve been here since then. We don’t know what to expect, but we are trying to act normally and to stay as calm as possible,” explains Corporal Eliyahu Avraham.

Corporal Allah Ahmed is also at the training base in the South. Allah explains that despite everything, he is not afraid to enter Gaza, “I’m not afraid, I’m excited,” he says. Allah, from Peki’in a Druze community in the North, experienced the same missile attacks during the Second Lebanon War, as is being experienced today in the South. He is particularly committed to doing all that is necessary in order to stop the missile attacks, “This situation is intolerable,” he clarifies. “I support this operation and believe it will result in stopping the Qassam rocket attacks. I joined the army to defend the State, this is what made me to want to be a combat soldier in the State of Israel.”

“We have enlisted many and trained a lot for situations like these. We are ready to carry out this mission,” explains First Sergeant Omer Ofir. “We are all focused on our goal,” he adds. Despite the dangers, there is no doubt that the soldiers in the South are ready and prepared for a serious fight and will do all that is demanded of them in the best way possible. “This is the time to prove that we here and that we are strong,” concludes Corporal Georgey Harel with pride. (Dikla Schneider @IDF)

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