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July 24, 2014 9:20 pm

Israeli Soldier Leaves Gaza Fighting for Birth of Son

avatar by Deborah Danan

Lt (res) Udi Tana and his first born son. Photo: Ma'ariv Screenshot.

On Wednesday, Lieutenant (res.) Udi Tana, a commander in the IDF’s Engineering Battalion, left the Gaza Strip to shower in the nearby town of Netivot when he received a call on his cell phone, Israeli daily Maariv reported.

Tana’s wife, Ricky, informed him that she was on the way to hospital to give birth to their first son. Tana rushed to the hospital in Bnei Brak where a few hours later his son was born.

“We went to take a shower in the home of the Atar family in Netivot. They’re a family that gives soldiers use of their home to freshen up,” Tana told Ma’ariv. “While I was in the shower my wife called me and told me that she was on her way to hospital to give birth.”

Tana said he and his wife were expecting that their first son would come into the world during Israel’s current “Operation Protective Edge”. “It was always in the air,” he said, “My wife is a true hero. She is just an amazing woman. It was difficult to leave for reserve duty during this period but nevertheless, we are always ready for the moment when the nation needs us. Since the abduction and murder of the three boys, we knew something big would happen, and it would probably be in [her] ninth month.”

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Tana’s comrades in the field were overjoyed at the news. “They laughed about it being the first child born to the regiment in ‘Operation Protective Edge’. Of course it strengthened the morale and everyone was extremely moved. In this way [his birth] came at exactly the right time.”

Shortly before his return to Gaza, Tana spoke emotionally about the support he felt from the people of Israel during the operation. “As fighters on the ground, we witnessed the support of the people of Israel and it is just incredible. We’re getting sent lots of gifts, food and every provision imaginable, and we’re also receiving letters which really strengthen us. We are in the [Jewish] period of mourning, with all of us mourning the destruction of the Temple that was destroyed because of sinat hinam [baseless hatred], and suddenly we find ourselves in a time of ahavat hinam [unconditional love]. All types of people are opening their hearts and embracing our warriors with tremendous love. If anyone has the slightest doubt about the strength of this nation, there is now a clear answer: Am Yisrael Hai [the Jewish nation lives] and in a big way.”

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