Around 50 tourists from Britain took a break from the hotel pool and traditional sightseeing to find out more about the reality of life near the Gaza border. The one day trip on Sukkot, organised by JNF UK, focused on meeting the heroes who defend Israel.
SUKKOT TOURISTS LEARN FIRST-HAND ABOUT GAZA TERROR TUNNELS
One of the highlights was hearing from soldiers from the IDF’s Tunnel Detection Laboratory. The soldiers discussed the threat of ‘terror tunnels,’ and how the Israeli army safeguards against cross-border incursions.
The visitors also met with local firefighters, who demonstrated how they deal with the incendiary balloons that are often dispatched from Gaza.
As if to emphasise the reality of the situation, the attendees learnt that just that morning the IDF had had to down a drone that had entered Israeli airspace from Gaza.
Lee S from London said:
“I’d never visited the Gaza border area before, so this tour allowed me to see things differently – and, most importantly, to meet the people here.”
One of the attendees, Ronit G, lives in Israel having made Aaliyah, but had also never visited the area. The trip was particularly poignant since her son had fought inside Gaza during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. She said:
“I wanted to know where my children had served, but to my regret I did not come here [sooner] on my own. I was pretty afraid. But this organised tour, together with dozens of Jews from abroad, allowed me to see close-up people’s amazing deeds here and to meet the kibbutzniks who practice Zionism here every day.”
Yonatan Galon, chief executive officer of JNF UK, said:
“We are proud to have brought dozens of people here who chose to celebrate their Sukkot a little differently, expressing solidarity with those who live near the Gaza border. JNF tirelessly supports the communities in the south of Israel, so it was very special to meet the heroes who keep them safe.”