IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson
The Golani Brigade began its annual nationwide race to help the local communities in Israel.
Date: 14/06/2009, 4:40 PM
Race Golani opened on Sunday (June 14th) at Mount Hermon and will end on Thursday near Eilat. Hundreds of soldiers, from the Golani Brigade, are located in 50 cities all over Israel in order to take part in community service activities, in cooperation with local communities with the support from the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers.
Each year, a selected topic stands at the center of the event, this year it focused on youth movements. “The connection with youth movements encourages them towards an important service in the IDF (Zahal),” explained Captain Ayub Kayof, Commander of Golani’s 13th Battalion, and continued to remark on the importance of maintaining the ongoing contacts with the youth movements.
As a tradition, every year the commander of the Golani Brigade leads the race. This year Colonel Avi Peled took part and paused at Hadera and Carmiel, together with new soldiers in basic training. Tomorrow, he will visit the race participants at Levinshtein House, a rehabilitation center for severe cases, where he will also be visiting a wounded Golani Brigade soldier, Nariya Biderman, who was severely wounded in the head by a mortar bomb during Operation Cast Lead.
During the week, the soldiers will participate in many activities including: visiting children at Shiva Hospital in Tel Hashomer, visiting the Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel located in Petah Tikva and a joint run with students from a school in Sderot.
Today, basic training soldiers were spread throughout the northern cities, where the 13th Battalion visited children at Rambam Hospital in Haifa. “In contrast to other countries, the IDF (Zahal) is the army of the people. There is a central connection between the IDF (Zahal) and the people,” said Private Ariel Gulai, while visiting the hospital. “Apart from the moral it creates about Golani and the encouragement it provides for a quality combat service, the most important relationship will be created with more events like this.”
“We embrace you with all our hearts and love the idea, the implementation and the message that you bring to the entire country – how important it is to serve in the IDF (Zahal) in significant positions,” said the Mayor of Haifa, Yona Yahav, to the soldiers of the battalion in a ceremony at the Town Hall in Haifa.
Don’t Lose Hope
Among the volunteers, from the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers, was Nasmi Halevi. He is the father of disappeared soldier Magdi Halevi, who served in a base near Haifa and went missing in May 2005. “After the incident with my son, I started to volunteer in the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers,” said Halevi, “The soldiers make it easier for me to cope with the situation. I feel they are my sons, and they strengthen me.”
Nasmi arrives to the facilities of the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s soldier in the North on a daily basis and takes part in voluntary activities. “Once a week I am visiting the wounded soldiers at the hospital and helping lone soldiers,” he said.
The relationship with the army and the police regarding the investigation of his missing son Magdi is unceasing. “We do not lose hope and this is what is holding us,” shared Halevi, “I always hope that my son is alive and will come back to us.”