Photo: IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson
Date: 20/01/2009, 4:34 PM Author: Sapphire Itskovich
Efrat and Aviv Duk from Ariel realized that they could not take part in Operation Cast Lead, but they did not want to sit at home changing the TV channel back and forth between the news stations. And so, equipped with big soup vats and sleeping bags, they drove south to Yad Mordekhay junction, near Sderot. There, Efrat and her husband established their own “operations room” that they named the Special Soup Forces. They chose the name based on their main goal: to feed every soldier who desires a warm meal.
The people passing by between Yad Mordekhay and Kfar Azza in the south, had a difficult time ignoring the presence of the kind couple and their large soup vats. Like every good elite unit they do not allow a single target slip from their fingers and insist on feeding every soldier they meet.
During the beginning of the operation in the Gaza Strip two of the couple’s children were drafted. One is an officer in Sheked Battalion of the Givati Brigade and the other is a soldier in an elite unit in the Paratrooper Brigade. Efrat, a former nurse and currently the head of a catering company, and Aviv, an X-ray technician and a former Medical Corps soldier decided not to sit at home anxiously and to cope with the reality in a different way. “Last Sunday Aviv told me, ‘we are setting up the Special Soup Forces’,” recounts Efrat, “I obviously agreed and immediately cooked a huge pot of hot soup.”
“This is our way to cope with our anxiety and to show love for all the soldiers,” explains Aviv and Efrat. “Everyone in uniform automatically becomes like my own child and like a mother on a cold winter day, I made them soup.” From the conversations the couple had with their sons, the morale in the field is high, the motivation is high and the only disappointment comes from those soldiers that have not yet entered the combat field. Nevertheless the boys are still unaware of their parents’ deeds in the South.
The couple doesn’t surrender to the situation, and the fear of missiles also disappears in the light of the warm response of th soldiers upon eating their soup. “One day, they simply fell upon us and finished up all the food. They got excited and wanted to take pictures with us,” recalls Efrat, and her husband adds: “They have sufficient food and sweets supplies, but we wanted to giver them a feeling of home.”
The Duk couple’s donation does not end with the Special Soup Force. On a regular basis, the couple hosts soldiers for Friday night dinners. “The IDF (Zahal) does amazing work under the Chief of the General Staff. We are proud of the IDF (Zahal) operations in the Gaza Strip and trust them. Well done to the soldiers and marvelous commanders.”