Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

An IDF soldier's description of his experience in Gaza


(JNS)—Gaza, a place with so much meaning. Words cannot describe the situations my comrades and I have been through.

The first time we got to the border we couldn’t imagine what the next four months would be like.

The first thing my officer told us when we started duty is that “the fence is a metaphor... only where the IDF is, is there a border.”

We couldn’t imagine how right he was.

In the past four months, my unit took control over the border, it was at this time the most difficult border in Israel.

Israel Independence Day, “Yom Nakba,” prisoner day, USA opening the Embassy in Jerusalem.

You know what was the hardest part of all this? It’s not the fact we didn’t take off our shoes the past week nor shower. Not the fact we didn’t talk to our friends and family the past week. It’s not the fact we sleep an average four hours a night. Let’s not talk about when was the last time we went home. It was the fact we did all of this, and at the end of the week, we saw in the media only criticism, on how we kill innocent Palestinians.

Well, I wanna put things straight. (Since I’m actually here)

Have you ever seen 4,000 people running towards you full of hate and yelling “Allah Akhbar”? Have you ever seen 4,000 people—men, women, and kids full of hate and anger? Can a knife kill? A Molotov cocktail? Fire kites? Bomb? AK-47?

Well, that’s a daily threat on the border.

My friends and I felt all the things above.

We SAW 4,000 people run to the fence. WE have been shot at. WE saw a bomb explode that was meant for us. WE saw people run towards us with knives and axes meant to KILL us. The feeling that goes through your body after all this is indescribable.

We have the right to defend our people, family, friends. We know if they pass us they are going for them.

Our LAST resort is to shoot, we first send papers describing we don’t want this, we send smelly bombs to keep them away. No country in the world does that.

After all this, they keep coming ... we shoot.

Every shot you take needs to get approved by two different people. Every shot that you take is written down and checked by officials.

The first rule as a sniper is to never close your eyes so you won’t miss a thing. Sometimes, you see things you will never forget.

All in all, I can assure you at the end of this tour we as a unit don’t regret a shot we took. Every shot we took was to protect the people we love.

Facebook post by IDF soldier Matan Barad, a lone soldier from Boston.


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