By: Ari Fuld
I have been serving in IDF reserves for over 20 years now and I thought I have seen it all. I thought I knew all there is to know about the IDF, then I spent a day at a Navy base in the north with the Standing Together team and was completely blown away. One of the perks that comes with working closely with IDF officers is getting into bases and seeing things that most people or soldiers don’t. When I heard Standing Together was visiting to a IDF Navy base to deliver winter jackets to combat sailors, I was as excited as a kid in a candy store.
I have flown in helicopters, been in armored vehicles, worked with tanks and have shot almost every land weapon out there, but I never had the opportunity to work with the guys who are at sea. I am not sure what was more enjoyable, seeing the smiles and appreciation from the sailors who received Standing Together winter jackets that were sponsored by people all over the world, or getting a peek and Israel’s naval capabilities.
As soon as we arrived on the base in Haifa we were briefed on what we can and more importantly what we can’t take pictures of. There were several times that I was tempted to snap a picture of the submarine fleet or of one of the ships that carried out missions in Gaza this summer, but Israel’s security was more important than a priceless selfie (right?).
Everything was new to the Standing Together team since this was the first time we were supplying the IDF Navy with winter gear. The donors that sponsored the waterproof winter jackets were excited as we were to take part in such an awesome campaign of support. We were met at the gate by ״M” who gave us an amazing tour of the base as well as of his ship called the “Kidon” (“The Spear”)
After becoming mesmerized at the view of where we were, the Navy rolled out the red carpet as we boarded the Kidon!
As we were climbing on to this massive ship we met two sailors who were already wearing their new jackets and that’s when we had to start snapping pictures!
The two soldiers we met wanted to say THANK YOU to all the sponsors who helped us supply their team with waterproof winter jackets.It was when “M” took us into the command room that our minds were completely blown away!
After meeting many of the soldiers who received the new winter jackets,, we met some of the commanders and captains of some of Israel’s fleet and heard first hand what these soldiers do both during peace time as well as during war. These guys are out at sea anywhere from a couple of days at a time to a couple of weeks and unlike the soldiers we see in the streets, the service these soldiers do is usually kept away from the public. We asked them how we can help make their service easier and they gave us a list of things they can use to help make their soldiers more comfortable while patrolling the sea and keeping Israel safe.
We at Standing Together have tens of projects going on to support IDF soldiers with whatever they need and we are happy to partner up with people all over the world who support our efforts. If you are looking for a way to say THANK YOU to IDF soldiers and show them the appreciation they deserve, join us on one of our IDF support campaigns.
If you are planning a trip to Israel, we invite you to sponsor a night out with the soldiers and join us on an IDF base.
We are in the height of our IDF winter gear campaign and we still have thousands of soldiers we need to get to and we can use your support to do so. Sponsor a soldier or an entire unit —> www.247idf.org/wintergear You want to see how much your support means to the IDF soldiers, watch this sailor say THANK YOU!