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UWI Celebrates Chanukah with IDF Soldiers at Gaza Border

We appreciate that you came. Here, we don’t know what can happen in the next five minutes,” an IDF base commander told the United with Israel visitors.

By Atara Beck

United with Israel’s eighth annual Chanukah party for IDF soldiers serving on the front lines was held at an army base situated approximately two kilometers from the Gaza border.

chanukah gift soldier

UWI founder and director Michael Gerbitz presents warm fleece jacket to IDF soldier. (Yissachar Ruas/UWI)

At each year’s Chanukah celebration, thanks to the generous support of United with Israel (UWI) members from around the world, the organization provides soldiers with ‘warm winter’ care packages as a token of appreciation. The packages include fleece jackets, hats, gloves and neck warmers.

They also receive beautifully wrapped gift packages of Chanukah menorahs, candles, chocolates and assorted treats, as well as personal notes of support and encouragement from friends around the world.

This year’s event, which included festive music and dancing at the base, was followed by a delicious full-course meal for soldiers and the UWI group at nearby Kibbutz Tzohar in the Negev Regional Council.

UWI chanukah party 2018

(Yissachar Ruas/UWI)

Approximately 200 visitors participated, including 50 Tel Aviv University students from abroad who came with former Member of Knesset Rabbi Dov Lipman.

At the base, ahead of the lighting of the Chanukah menorah – a unique metal sculpture made from Kassam rockets fired from Gaza into Israel – the regional commander addressed the crowd, saying how much he and his soldiers appreciate the visit.

“We are so happy that you came,” he said.

“We’re protecting the people in Israel and Jews around the world. The difference between us and our neighbors is that we don’t choose to fight, but we must defend ourselves. They send women and children as human shields,” he explained.

“We celebrate the holiday with all our soldiers – Jews, Druze and others,” he added.

‘Today’s Miracle’

UWI Chanukah Party 2018

(Yissachar Ruas/UWI)

In the spirit of Chanukah, which recalls the miracle of the Maccabees’ victory over the Greeks more than 2,000 years ago, the commander pointed to what he sees as today’s miracle: the decision made by Jews around the world to make Aliyah (immigrate to Israel).

Indeed, some of the soldiers at the base were “lone soldiers” from places like Florida and London, who came without their families to serve in the IDF and protect the Jewish state.

The base commander also addressed the visitors, explaining that the Hebrew letters for IDF (Tzahal) are placed on the left side of the uniform, “on the heart.”

‘Not the Safest Place’

‘Every morning we wake up and ask ourselves what we can we do to protect the people, especially those living in this area, which is not the safest place…

Border Police Gerbitz Black Arrow

UWI founder and director Michael Gerbitz and his wife Bonnie with Border Police and IDF soldiers at Black Arrow Memorial Park. (Yissachar Ruas/UWI)

“I promise you that all of us will continue to make sure that the people of Israel, including those in the south, will have a normal life.

“We appreciate that you came,” he added. “Here, we don’t know what can happen in the next five minutes.”

The commanders and soldiers “thanked us sincerely, but we all know that the thanks belongs only to them,” UWI founder Michael Gerbitz said. “These young soldiers put their lives on the line every single day so that people like us can live in peace,” added Gerbitz.

En route to the base, the UWI group made a stop at Chetz Hashachor, the Black Arrow Memorial, located 900 meters from the Gaza border, where the “miracle of the bus” occurred recently. On November 13, a Hamas missile struck a bus merely minutes after 50 young soldiers had exited the vehicle.

Treating the Wounded

Border Police simulate emergency

Border Police simulate medical emergencies. (Yissachar Ruas/UWI)

During the stopover, an IDF officer discussed the challenges faced in the area, and a group of border police simulated a number of medical emergencies, when soldiers and civilians are wounded by Hamas terror.

On display was an all-terrain 4×4 anti-terror vehicle (ATV) donated by UWI to Yatar, an elite counter-terror volunteer force under the command of the border police that works hand-in-hand with security intelligence units and special commando forces to prevent and combat terror.

Keep Israel Soldiers Warm this Winter – Send Care Packages!

We are honored to thank the young men and women of the IDF who risk their lives every day to protect and defend the citizens of Israel. Join us in sending winter care packages (and personal notes of support) to Israeli soldiers who are out in the cold all day long.

Warm up a soldier’s heart with essential winter wear including a fleece jacket, hat, gloves and neck warmer. Keep an entire unit warm by ordering 10 packages! The soldiers greatly appreciate your love and concern.




UWI的创始人和导演Michael Gerbitz将保暖羊毛夹克赠送给IDF士兵。(Yaskar Ruas/UWI)


















UWI的创始人、导演迈克尔·格比茨和妻子邦妮在黑箭纪念公园与边防警察和以色列国防军士兵在一起。(Yaskar Ruas/UWI)



UWI的创始人Michael Gerbitz说,指挥官和士兵们“衷心感谢我们,但我们都知道,感谢只属于他们。”“这些年轻的士兵每天都要冒生命危险,这样像我们这样的人就能和平地生活,”格比茨补充道。

在去基地的路上,UWI小组在距离加沙边境900米处的黑纪念堂Chetz Hashachor停留,那里最近发生了“巴士奇迹”。11月13日,一枚哈马斯导弹击中了一辆公共汽车,就在50名年轻士兵离开汽车几分钟之后。



边境警察模拟医疗紧急情况。(Yaskar Ruas/UWI)







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