Friday, May 31, 2019

SodaStream Hosts Thousands for Ramadan Feast

SodaStream is hosting nearly 3,000 Israelis and Palestinians for a Ramadan fast-ending meal at its factory in the southern Israel town of Rahat.

Bedouins and Jewish Israelis and some Palestinians attended the feast on Monday along with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

Friedman writes on Twitter that he had “the pure joy” to attend, and touts SodaStream as a paragon of peace.

“Muslims, Druze, Christians and Jews working together, each making the other better, happier and more prosperous,” says Friedman.

SodaStream, manufacturer of fizzy drink-machines and other bubbly products, shut its Dead Sea factory in 2015 amid boycott calls and opened a new facility in the predominantly Bedouin town of Rahat.

SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum, who sealed a $3.2 billion agreement with beverage giant PepsiCo last summer, hailed the deal as a victory over the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which advocates for the destruction of the Jewish State.

“I think they have learned not to meddle with us. Look at what happened to SodaStream that they targeted, and what has happened to them,” Birnbaum said of BDS.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A Twist of Fate

A Palestinian woman’s life has been saved thanks to the expert care of Sheba Medical Center, Tel HaShomer. And in an amazing turn of fate and friendship, the Israeli doctor who helped save her was once rescued by her family when he was attacked by a vicious crowd in a Palestinian village.
Four years ago, Dr. Eitan was traveling with his son and made a wrong turn into a Palestinian village near Ramallah. An angry mob formed around the car, throwing stones and breaking the car windows. The lives of Dr. Eitan and his son were clearly in danger when two bystanders who lived in the village, Imad and his cousin Ayoub, rescued them.
Imad and Ayoub ushered the Israelis into their home, calling for a rescue team and protecting them from the threatening crowd that closed in around the house. Without question, Imad and Ayoub saved their lives.
As a result, a deep friendship was born between the three men, and now it has come full circle.
When Imad’s sister-in-law was severely injured in a vehicle accident, Imad knew just who to call – Dr. Eitan. The doctor helped facilitate the sister-in-law’s transfer to Sheba Medical Center for lifesaving treatment and continues to oversee her care. Her condition is improving, and she will soon be transferred to Sheba’s Rehabilitation Hospital.
This story is the latest example of Sheba Medical Center’s long history of spreading peace through medicine. This hospital without borders has a firm belief in providing the highest quality of medical care available, regardless of nationality or religion.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Arson the Cause of Fires in Israel Last Week

Following the disastrous fires last week that left hundreds of people with only their clothes on their backs, it has now been revealed that arson was a cause. In one location, the fires had been started in several places.

Further, Arab terrorists have adopted arson as a weapon against Israel, taking advantage of the dry and hot weather to ignite fires.

Arab terrorists on Sunday night threw several firebombs at the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood in Jerusalem and attempted to set it on fire.
Firefighters fought back the flames and prevented the fire from causing any damage.
Pisgat Ze’ev is situated adjacent to Arab neighborhoods. 

Several terrorists have been arrested

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Why Have Economic Prosperity When One Can Blame Israel For Misery?

by  Bassam Tawil   May 21, 2019 

Originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website
Photo Credit: 

In most normal societies, a businessman who seeks to improve the living conditions of his people by boosting the economy and creating job opportunities for the unemployed — including a host of jobless university graduates — is treated with respect. The Palestinians, however, do not seem to belong to those societies.

Ashraf Jabari is a 45-year-old businessman from the West Bank city of Hebron. A member of a large Palestinian clan in the city, Jabari believes in economic cooperation and peaceful coexistence with his Jewish neighbors, including settlers living in the West Bank.
Earlier this year, Jabari and some of his Jewish friends launched a new economic initiative to advance joint entrepreneurship between Israelis and Palestinians there.

“We are working on taking down borders, and both Israelis and Palestinians need to take part in this,” Jabari explained. “We need to breach this wall. We must first create good links and good relationships not just in the West Bank, but all over Israel so we can achieve our desired goal.”

To advance his goal, Jabari recently announced the establishment of a new party that calls for focusing on economic prosperity for Palestinians:

The Reform and Development Party, he said, seeks to solve the economic problems of the Palestinians, including high unemployment. “We have an army of university graduates who are unemployed,” he said. “We’ve reached a situation where a young [Palestinian] man holding a Master’s degree in law has to work as a street vendor because he can’t find work.”

One would expect a message like that to be welcomed by Palestinians. Here is a man who is talking about helping his people put food on their tables. Here is a man who is saying: “Let’s put aside our political differences and focus on ways of achieving economic stability for our people.”

Instead of giving Jabari a chance to carry out his initiative, Palestinians have waged a massive smear campaign against him, with many denouncing him as a “traitor” and “collaborator” with Israel and Jews. Some Palestinians have even gone as far as callingfor his arrest or execution.

The campaign against the Palestinian businessman reached its peak on May 13, after he hosted at his home several Jews for the Ramadan break-the-fast meal, Iftar. It is not unusual for Muslims to host non-Muslims for the Iftar meal. In this instance, however, Jabari seems to have invited the “wrong” guests: Jews.

As soon as photos of the Ramadan meal appeared in various media outlets, many angry Palestinians took to social media to voice their strong condemnation of Jabari.

In the face of the widespread protests and resentment, Jabari’s clan was forced publicly to denounce and disown him. “Ashraf Jabari is a criminal, and he doesn’t enter the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories,” said Arif Rubin Jabari, a leader of the clan. “Our family already disowned this fraud back in 2002. He doesn’t represent anyone from our clan or Hebron.”

The clan leader further claimed that Israel was “using Jabari to carry out its suspicious schemes against Palestinians.” He called on Palestinian Authority officials to “study Israel’s attempt to give prominence to Jabari by presenting him as an alternative to the current Palestinian leadership.”

The clan’s public denunciation of Jabari, however, has failed to placate many Palestinians, who are now calling for severely punishing the him for his words and deeds.

The Palestinian news website Wattan, based in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians, called for bringing Jabari to trial for treason. “The [Palestinian] security services must act immediately to arrest him,” Wattan said in an article published on its website.

“According to Article 135 of the Revolutionary Penal Code of the PLO (1979), the punishment for treason is prison with hard labor. The law states that anyone who offers accommodation, food or clothes to an enemy soldier or a spy or helps him escape, should be punished. Dozens of spies have already been punished in accordance with this law. Article 140 of the same law stipulates the death sentence for anyone who serves as an informant for the enemy. Indeed, many spies have been executed.

Judging from the reactions of the Palestinians, they are angry with Jabari mainly for two reasons: engaging in “normalization” with Israelis and promoting the idea of “economic peace.” The Palestinians’ “anti-normalization” movement is strongly opposed to any form of relations with Israel — including sports and cultural events. Now, it seems that they are even opposed to seeing Palestinians and Jews eating together.

Jabari offended many Palestinians because he dared to invite his Jewish friends to the Ramadan meal at his home.

Moreover, his talk about “economic prosperity” for Palestinians has turned him into a public enemy. How dare the man discuss seeking ways to improve the living conditions of his people and create jobs for the unemployed?

In the eyes of many Palestinians, the struggle against Israel should be paramount, even if they have to eat and drink that struggle instead of the food they could buy through engaging in economic initiatives such as those proposed by Jabari.

Had Jabari joined Hamas or Islamic Jihad, or one of the anti-Israel organizations in the West Bank, he would have been idolized. Had he called for boycotting Israel rather than working — and eating — with them, he would have been lauded among his people and his clan.

In light of the uproar sparked by the Palestinian businessman’s actions and statements, it is safe to assume that his new party will never succeed in winning the hearts and minds of Palestinians. It’s also hard to see how any of the economic enterprises he’s talking about will ever materialize.

The unprecedented campaign of hate and intimidation against Jabari comes weeks before the US administration rolls out its long-awaited plan for peace in the Middle East, also known as the “deal of the century.”

The upcoming peace plan, according to various reports, talks about giving the Palestinians billions of dollars and raising money for them from wealthy Arab countries. Yet, as Jabari’s case makes clear, the Palestinians are less invested in gaining economic stability than they are in hating Israel.

For Palestinians, the financial aid is a cynical attempt to lure them away from their struggle against Israel — and no Palestinian leader has the stomach to face the threats that Jabari is currently confronting. So, far from any “deal of the century,” the Palestinian leaders long ago struck a dirty deal of their own: they put their stock in Israel-hatred rather than in their own people.

A Family's Terror Experiences

(Guest posting from "Grandma's Army")

In Israel, the boundaries between the home-front and the army are very blurred. My son and family, who live in the south, are constantly being bombarded by  missiles from the Gaza Strip - by air and ground. Two weeks ago, 700 missiles were fired from Gaza to the south of Israel! in which several civilians were killed. One rocket even reached Tel-Aviv. 

At the same time, their youngest daughter (Adi) is an army instructor. She belongs to a corps which teaches soldiers, taken from  all the army’s ground forces, how to use the different weapons used to locate and destroy enemies and armament - in order to clear the area. 

It’s hard for me to picture Adi, who is an extremely feminine young woman of 20, instructing soldiers on how to use lethal weapons. These include a particular type of rocket called “Gil”, which was developed in Israel. With the means of a special device the “Gil” can follow any target, even a moving one. The shooter can manoeuvre the rocket all the time while it is in the air, in order to strike the target with maximum precision (just like a computer game), and can reach to a distance of up to 4 kms.

Usually two divisions of a regiment, each consisting of 20 fighters, are sent  to  her corps simultaneously. Adi mostly instructs older civilians from the army Reserves who are called up, usually one month a year,  in order to maintain their fighting skills. Since the Reserves make up 70% of the fighting forces, it is very important that they keep up with their particular task, since it is  never known when hostilities will break out.

It is particularly hard to instruct middle-aged civilians since they are not accompanied by commanders of the corps who – in the case of regular soldiers - can impose disciplinary measures. To keep them focused on the subject at hand is a real challenge, especially when the instructor is a young woman.

Adi spends an entire week of  intensive training with each group, in which they eat together and train together in the field. She says that she finds the work very stimulating since she has to adapt her training methods according to the particular group she is instructing at the time. In this way, she gets to meet interesting and diverse types of soldiers from a wide variety of backgrounds.

At times when no such groups of Reservists are sent, the instructors are taken to frontiers all over the country in which regular soldiers are serving. In this way Adi has the opportunity  to travel to different army bases which is an experience in itself. 

The work can be difficult, especially in times of pressure when they get up very early and get to bed very late - the whole day being spent, either in the field, or giving lessons. This also affects the attention span of the soldiers who have to be motivated enough to concentrate.

In Adi’s words: “The job has taught me how to stand before an audience and to speak without getting nervous and with self-confidence. I have learned to master complicated material and to present it in an interesting way. Also, the ability to conduct a discussion with different types of people. I am grateful to be part of a team of female colleagues with whom I enjoy a warm and very friendly relationship".

The fact that the ability of the fighters to serve their country in the best possible way is dependent to a large extent on their training, gives the trainers a significant role in any future war. The satisfaction they experience as a result is enhanced by the trainees themselves, who show respect and appreciation to their instructors.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Egypt and Iran Vie for Influence in Gaza

At the start of April, Hebrew media reports quoted unnamed Israeli security officials as saying that the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror faction, which possesses a rocket arsenal even larger than that of Hamas, was planning a major attack on Israeli targets.
The disclosure of this information appeared to achieve its goal of discouraging the perpetrators, and no attack transpired. But the fact that PIJ was reportedly planning an incident that could have upset Egyptian attempts to restore calm to the Gaza Strip could hint at a wider struggle taking place within Gaza between Egypt and Iran.
Gaza’s ruling regime, Hamas, has reportedly faced demands from Egypt in recent months to decide whether it “takes its orders from Tehran or continues to implement the understandings for calm” formulated by the head of Egyptian intelligence Abbas Kamel.
The clash of interests between these two regional powers seems clear. Egypt wishes to see Gaza calm, stable, and cut off from ISIS-affiliated terror networks in Sinai, which also threaten Egyptian security; while Iran sees Gaza as one more base from which it can exercise its radical influence and encourage the growth of a terrorist army that threatens not only Israel but the stability of the whole region.
Iran transfers $100 million a year to the military wings of Hamas and PIJ collectively, according to Israeli estimates.
Boaz Ganor, executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, recalled that with the signing of the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, Cairo had no interest in retaking Gaza.
Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat “understood the problematic nature of this territory, which is the most crowded in the world, and racked with poverty, fundamentalism, and a lack of a sovereign ruler,” said Ganor. As a result, Sadat did not demand a return to Egyptian rule over Gaza, even though Egypt had controlled the Strip prior to the 1967 Six-Day War.
“What Sadat understood, [current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah] El-Sisi also understands, although in a different manner,” Ganor said. “Sisi understands that the Strip contains many risks to Egypt within it. Hamas, which controls Gaza, is tied by the umbilical cord to its mother movement – the Muslim Brotherhood – who are Sisi’s loathed strategic enemies.”
Sisi has identified a process of Iranian infiltration into Gaza via its proxy, PIJ, “and is concerned by the growth of a forward Iranian post on the northern border of Egypt,” said Ganor.
Another source of concern for Sisi is the fact that ISIS in Sinai is linked to other Salafi-jihadist elements in Gaza. These security and political factors, as well as Egyptian concern over the prospect of a new armed conflict erupting between Israel and Hamas on Egypt’s border, have all led to “massive Egyptian intervention and a will to be active in what is taking place in the Strip,” said Ganor. Israel, for its part, is in favor of this intervention and has even requested it over the years.
Iran is trying to neutralize Egyptian influence in Gaza, Ganor noted, while looking to tighten its links with its Gazan proxies. Tehran is trying to transfer funds and weapons into Gaza. “It also seeks to instruct its proxies to disrupt every process that can lead to calm,” said Ganor.
Tehran’s relationship with Hamas is somewhat complicated.
According to Ganor, “Iran’s influence on Hamas is significant, but much smaller than its influence on Hezbollah. Hamas zealously safeguards its independence and does not view itself as being obligated to Iranian interests.”
With Iran conducting training sessions for PIJ inside the Islamic Republic, the organization is an “explicit proxy of Iran, in contrast to Hamas, which is under Iranian influence but has its own agenda and is more independent,” he argued.
Egypt has far more at stake in Gaza, which is at its back door. “Whatever happens in Sinai directly influences Egypt. Iran, meanwhile, is distant, and tries to activate its influence in Gaza by remote control,” said Segall.
He summed up the Iranian proxy strategy as follows: “The more Israel bleeds on its borders, the less it can engage Iran directly.” And the Iranians would like the same thing to happen in the West Bank, with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calling for terror factions there to be armed just as they are in Gaza.
“This is central component in Iranian doctrine. It’s about asymmetric warfare. Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria have become part of Iran’s asymmetric warfare doctrine,” said Segall. “The Iranians work with a proxy toolbox against the Saudis, the Egyptians and Gulf states. This is not limited to Gaza,” he said.
While Iran has the power to activate PIJ to disrupt Egyptian mediation efforts or spark a new conflict, PIJ also faces pressure from Hamas, which can force its will on it, including through the force of arms, according to Segall.
“I think that on the day they receive their orders from Iran, PIJ will obey and cash its checks, which it has received over the years from the Iranians,” he said.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Terror Targets Civilians, Israel Targets Terrorists

The message in the video says it all.

If this is not a war crime, what is?

Sunday, May 5, 2019

What Should a Grandmother tell her Grandchildren?

(Guest post from a grandmother)

Driving home this evening from a lovely visit to my 6 year old grand-daughter and her 8 month old baby brother I was listening to the radio. 
In the 20 minutes or so it took me to drive from Yokne'am to ZIchron Ya'akov the radio broadcast was interrupted EIGHT times so that those in Ashdod could hear a siren and be given the advice, "Go to the shelter." Eight times. Eight attacks. TWENTY minutes.
Just one hundred kilometres south of this rolling peaceful landscape, tens of thousands of Israeli civilians are being attacked in their own homes.
A grandmother just like me isn't laughing with her grandchildren. She's cradling them and comforting them and telling them there is nothing to worry about as the explosions sound in the night air outside.
Sometimes it's even hard for us here in Israel to really grasp the everyday reality of our Southern countrymen.
Perhaps we can understand that ordinary people in other countries don't get it. But how, how can the media twist and lie about the situation?
What evil drives them to demonise Israel, our tiny country, where we Israelis just want to live in peace in our ancient home land? This tiny country that has given more to the world than any other. This tiny country that is made up of parents and children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, just ordinary decent human beings.
Why do the BBC, The Guardian, The New York Times, CNN … the list goes on and on … why do they dehumanise us, we who go to such lengths to prevent loss of life of an enemy that chants for our blood, that wants us wiped off the face of the earth?
Who does it help when they wilfully paint this false picture, over and over again?

Massive rocket barrages launched from Gaza

     By launching 600 rockets  in 30 hours from positions within the civilian population of Gaza,    the  terror organizations are committing a double war crime: the targeting of Israeli civilians     while using their own civilian population as human shields. ‎ (Incidentally almost 400 landed     in open areas and nearly 200 were intercepted by the Iron Dome system )

Following sniper attacks on Israeli soldiers that took place yesterday (Friday, 3 May 2019), 
wounding of two IDF officers, the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations initiated today
 (Saturday, 4 May) a massive rocket attack of over 430 rockets that were launched on Israeli 
towns and villages in southern Israel. Several Israeli civilians were injured in the attacks,
 including one fatality. The shelling also caused severe damage to homes and property.

In response to the rocket attacks, the IDF targeted terror facilities belonging to the Islamic
 Jihad and Hamas terror organizations in the Gaza Strip, destroying dozens of terror targets
 including an Islamic Jihad terror tunnel from Rafah, rocket launchers, underground weapons manufacturing facilities and terror training bases.

The rockets were launched from positions within the civilian population of Gaza. The terror organizations are thus committing a double war crime: targeting Israeli civilians on the one 
hand while using their own population as a human shield on the other.

Both terror organizations, Hamas and Islamic Jihad (which acts as an Iranian proxy), are 
acting against the interests of the residents of the Gaza Strip and are the main barrier to 
the peaceful development of the Gaza Strip. Hamas, which also receives direct support 
form Iran, ruthlessly rules the Gaza Strip and bears full responsibility for any attack. This
 murderous regime holds the residents of the Gaza Strip captive and endangers their lives.

Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system was activated dozens of times on Saturday to intercept 
the barrage of rockets launched at Israeli communities from Gaza. Israel will continue to 
 do its utmost to defend its citizens and ensure their security against the aggression of 
the terror organizations controlling the Gaza Strip.

The rocket barrages come shortly before a potentially tense month, with Ramadan,
 Israel’s Memorial Day and Independence Day, Nakba Day, and the one-year
 anniversary of the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem.

The IDF is also preparing for violence ahead of Eurovision, the finale of which 
will take place in Tel Aviv on May 18 with thousands of tourists expected to attend.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

How does One Understand This Idiotic Mindset?

D.C. Synagogue will mourn Palestinians, ignore Israeli Independence Day

Stephen M. Flatow..01 May '19..

A prominent synagogue in Washington, D.C., will mark Israel’s 71st birthday by mourning “Palestinian losses” alongside Israeli terror victims, and refrain from holding any kind of Israeli independence celebration.

It’s the latest example of an appalling “both sides” mentality that blurs right and wrong, good and evil, and Israel and its would-be destroyers.

On Tuesday evening, May 7, Israelis—and Jews around the world—will hold solemn Yom Hazikaron ceremonies to remember the approximately 25,000 Israeli Jews murdered by invading Arab armies and Palestinian Arab terrorists since 1948.

But at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in the nation’s capital, a different kind of ceremony will be held. Called the “Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony,” participants will gather together for what they describe as “a memorial based on the values of hope, solidarity and non-violence. Hear from Israelis and Palestinians as they share their families’ stories of loss.”

Yes, Palestinian Arabs have been killed in the course of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
But that doesn’t make them all “victims.” And that doesn’t mean they should all be “mourned.” That doesn’t place them all on the same moral level.

In the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, Israel is the victim and the Palestinian Arabs are the aggressors. Nobody is saying Israel is perfect. No country is perfect. No army is perfect. But we still should be able to make the basic distinction between right and wrong. We still should have enough sense to distinguish between cops and robbers.

( This is a pathetic attempt at moral equivalence without any semblance of understanding of the Palestinian mentality)

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


Guest posting from Grandma's army   May 01, 2019 

During the Passover holidays I visited “Jewish” Salonika, the second largest city in Greece and the capital of Macedonia. Since Jews all over the world will be commemorating Holocaust Day tomorrow, we were interested to learn what became of the local Jewish community during WWII. Unbelievably, we were told that 98% of the community perished in concentration camps! 

To compound the tragedy -  the physical extermination of Salonikan Jews was followed by almost total oblivion about the history, influences and accomplishments of the city’s Jews.

The first Jews are thought to have arrived in the region in 513 B.C.E. and remained uninterrupted throughout the Roman and Byzantine eras. However, it was the influx of the 20,000 Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition in 1492 and found refuge in Ottomon Saloniki, which created an autonomous Jewish city. At least two thirds of the total population were Jewish. Salonika was dubbed “Mother of Israel” and “Jerusalem of the Balkans”.

David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak ben-Zvi (both former Prime Ministers) visited Salonika in 1911 to study a functioning Jewish society - which could serve as a model for a future state of Israel.

In 1913 the essentially Jewish city was annexed to Greece from the Ottoman Empire. After Greece achieved independence of the Ottoman Empire, it made the Jews full citizens of the country in the 1920’s.

Following the German occupation during 1941-43, the ancient and vibrant Jewish community of Salonika in Greece was completely destroyed.

The Germans  began with the destruction of the largest Jewish cemetery in Europe - desecrating 500 years of Jewish history and half a million gravestones. The desecration of the dead was part of the Nazi’s plan to dehumanize the living. With the destruction of the Jewish cemetery, the Germans swiftly began transporting the Jews of Salonika to the death camps. Human bones and broken tombstones were used as building materials – by the local Greek government, the Germans, the local churches, and members of the community. 

The following picture depicts the beginning of the end in the ironically named Freedom Square. In July 1942, 9,000 starving Jewish men, aged 18-45 were forced at gunpoint by the German occupiers to assemble in the scorching sun to be registered for forced labour.

It was only in 2014 that the silence about the Jews was suddenly broken when the Greek press triumphantly reported the name of the winner of the Nobel prize for literature, Patrick Modiano, a Jew whose origins are from Salonika. 

The present mayor is the first major figure in Salonika to take concrete and symbolic steps to restore the city’s Jewish heritage.

IDF soldier born to Gaza parents commended for excellence

His mother and father moved to Israel 30 years ago and had two sons here, both of whom chose to convert to Judaism and enlist in Israeli military after being encouraged at home; on Independence Day, 21-year-old Sergeant A., will receive a citation of excellence

Korin Elbaz Alush|Published:  04.24.19

He was born to Muslim parents who relocated from the Gaza Strip to Israel some 30 years ago, and in two week’s time - on Independence Day - he is going to be a recipient of a special citation of excellence from the head of his division. Ironically, the family lives in Sderot, a city that has for years been suffering from rocket attacks fired by Gaza militants.  

The 21-year-old Staff Sergeant A., is a career soldier in the Technology and Logistics Division and is currently preparing for an officers' course he is about to start.

His parents moved to Israel when the borders were still open. They managed to successfully assimilate and build new lives over the border where they became parents to two sons, one of whom is Sergeant A. The two boys decided to convert to Judaism and later enlist in Israel Defense Forces.

He began his service supervising military workshops and was later appointed as the head of the planning and development division. In the last few months, before deciding to sign-up for the officer's course, he served as operations officer of his platoon.

"I didn’t think I’d be able to achieve that, it’s a dream come true," Sergeant A., said about receiving the citation of excellence. “Since I became a career soldier, I’ve worked insane hours and tried to do my best. I’m happy that it’s been appreciated because they told me they’re giving me the citation for my hard work.”

The soldier said his parents are also Israeli patriots and his fathers had dreamt about his sons enlisting in the military. "Our parents are very excited about the ceremony," he said, adding that when he told his father he’s going to be an officer, the father broke into tears of joy. "My family is the main source of my strength, to have complete support from them is not a given,” he added.

The sergeant's extended family still lives in Gaza, but he says he’s not in touch with them and would never visit them even if he could. “I barely speak Arabic,” he said. “When the parents speak to me in Arabic, I always answer in Hebrew. I always felt Jewish, and Judaism was an inseparable part of me even before the conversion.” He said he celebrated the Passover at his parents’ house.

The soldiers says he doesn’t try to hide his Gazan roots from either his friends or the military. "It's always accompanied by follow-up questions, but I'm Jewish and Israeli, and proud of myself and my parents who chose to come to Israel."