I traveled with a convoy of six cars, filled with neighbors, relatives and a LOT of food and supplies. Those of you in Israel well know that so many people are doing exactly what the 16 of us did today. As one participant who has lived in Israel for decades told me, "It's like we can't do enough for our soldiers. Everyone just wants to give!"
This is our group at the beginning of the day, buying food, drinks and other supplies from a small grocery store in Beersheva.
|The guy in the white shirt in the middle of the group was the manager of the grocery store. It was his idea to take the photo.|
|Cartons and bags of food and supplies we dropped off at the first location.|
|More food and supplies we dropped off.|
|In these cooler bags were 500 (!) sandwiches made for our soldiers.|
At one point, we were blocked from proceeding to our destination, until one of our group members pulled some strings to get us passed the police blockade. While we were waiting, we parked in front of this communal bomb shelter which someone had taken the time to decorate.
At another point, our convoy was caught in the middle of nowhere, on a road so dusty it was a more than a little unsettling.
Everywhere we traveled, we saw signs of thanks and praise for our soldiers. The country is unusually united in its support for this mission and for the need to eradicate the enemy who would like to see us utterly destroyed. For the Jewish people, this achdut, this unity, is very much a spiritual merit.
We marveled at how the men and women we saw there were able to tolerate the conditions. And then we remembered that, at this location, they were not actively fighting. It must have seemed like paradise.
|We trekked through the silt to the soldiers. You don't want to know what kind of condition the Porta Potties were in.|
|Much of the landscape near Gaza is quite barren. This field was just a few yards away from what one soldier said was, "The end of the world." From here, we could see into Egypt.|
|We had the incredible good fortune to overhear a soldier mention that he was from Baltimore. Turns out that we know his family. He and his siblings went to the same school as our children attended.|
|A bit of watermelon whimsy in the midst of war.|
|I loved this country when I woke up this morning and I love it that much more now.|
|This is probably my favorite picture of the day. Soldiers post the notes of thanks they get, mostly drawn by children. Indeed, we are truly one people.|
My husband said it best when he wrote, "Thank God we came home safely, and I pray that our soldiers defending the land and people of Israel be privileged to do the same."
Postscript: Our mission today traveled under the banner of Project Socks. Many of our supplies were bought with funds from people living in Canada and the US. As long as our soldiers are fighting in Gaza, we will continue to raise money and bring supplies directly to their hands, as we did today. If you would like to contribute to the foundation that is funding Project Socks, please contact me using the contact form in the top of the right hand column or email rivkah at kotevet dot com and I'll make sure you get connected.