This week, many headlines reported protests involving Israeli soldiers.
Anyone who is not a frequent visitor to the Old City
might have missed what has become a regular event in Jerusalem.
Near the Kotel, in the Western Wall Plaza,
the IDF holds swearing-in ceremonies for soldiers.
Soldiers of the Golani Brigade were sworn in last Thursday
and smart supporters knew to arrive early to get a good spot.
Hundreds of young men
and young women participated.
Joining with the hundreds of young Israelis were lone soldiers
from the Ukraine, France, Brazil and Venezuela,
Nevada and New York, Baltimore and Los Angeles in the USA.
Before the ceremony began,
over 40 lone soldiers were treated to a delicious dinner
sponsored by the Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin.
As at most Israeli gatherings, food is a central feature,
but lone soldiers do not have the families to bring them treats to eat.
Lined up and ready to go,
hundreds of soldiers filled the tunnel near the Kotel.
Inside the tunnel a group of soldiers started singing,
“Mi Mesugal” Division 13… can do it.”
Finally it was time to start…how did we find anyone before cellphones?
As the young soldiers marched in
the plaza was packed with thousands of spectators,
as family and friends
and visitors all tried
and photograph the newest graduating soldiers of the IDF.
The Israeli flags flew and the flame burned brightly.
Congratulations and thanks go out to all those who serve.
Yes…I am biased to the Golani Brigade and lone soldiers,
as my two sons served as lone soldiers in the Golani Brigade
and just typing these words brings tears to my eyes.
Along with the parents of last week’s inductees,
we are filled with pride and concern.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the next generation
would not have to be called to serve in the army?
If you have a minute check out this video of the singing
and many more photos from the dinner and tekes, ceremony can be found here: