The New Year is a popular time for many across the globe to make resolutions and for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), that opportunity was not overlooked.
Posting on Twitter, the IDF outlined five central resolutions for 2013, with the objective to provide security for the people of Israel as the first. The IDF spokesperson described 2012 as a challenging year for Israel’s security. “Our soldiers faced many threats from terrorist agents on Israel’s borders to rocket fire targeting civilians,” related the official IDF blog.
One of those soldiers was Captain Ziv Shilon, who lost a hand after a Hamas-planted bomb exploded during a routine patrol of the Gaza border. The bomb mangled the IDF company commander’s right hand. Despite the horrific injury, Captain Shilon stated that although rehabilitation “was a long journey,” he was staying optimistic and planning to return to his soldiers once he healed.
In another resolution, the IDF firmly declared that it would stand ready for every possible threat.
That pledge was recently tested during the rocket escalation throughout November’s Operation Pillar of Defense, when the Iron Dome missile defense system became a huge asset in preventing Gaza rockets from striking heavily populated cities in Israel. The IDF soldiers behind the Iron Dome’s operation were also key to its success. One of the soldiers, a French-born female soldier was among those actively involved in defending Tel Aviv from incoming rockets.
Corporal Lolly, originally from France, is a lone soldier who knew early on that that she wanted to work with the Iron Dome system. “From the minute I heard about the Iron Dome system, it was clear to me that is where I would serve, taking an active part in protecting the lives of Israeli citizens,” she stated on the official IDF blog.
In addition to protecting Israel’s borders and civilian population, the IDF also promised this New Year to carry out and prepare rescue missions for countries struck by natural disasters. The IDF’s Home Front Command Search and Rescue Unit (SAR) established precisely for that kind of work both in Israel and abroad, has been providing aid to people suffering from natural disasters across the world for over 20 years.
Created in February 1992, the Search and Rescue Unit has assisted with disaster zones in 14 countries including Japan, Turkey, Haiti and Armenia. In total, the IDF has sent 15 aid delegations which have provided medical care to more than 2,300 people and have saved 220 lives. Made up of reserve soldiers and physicians from the Home Front Command Search and Rescue Unit, the unit has become known across the world for its effective emergency response assistance.
The last two resolutions that the IDF specified included strengthening cooperation with allies and developing cutting-edge technology.
As a unique show of thanks to IDF soldiers, the Ultra-Orthodox music superstar, Yaakov Shwekey performed in Israel yesterday, Tuesday, January 1 in front of thousands of fans at Tel Aviv’s Nokia stadium in a special night honoring IDF soldiers. “I’ve come to sing here tonight to show my gratitude to all the Israeli soldiers who work so hard to defend the Jewish state,” Shwekey told the audience. Shwekey also sang a new song that he composed especially to thank the for the soldiers for all that they do to make the country safe.