(Laura Ben-David)

Michael Gerbitz

United with Israel founder Michael Gerbitz in discussion with one of the IDF soldiers on base. (Laura Ben-David)

United with Israel’s 2016 Chanukah Party with Israeli soldiers at the Har Gilo army base in the Jerusalem area was a fabulous expression of support for the brave young soldiers of the IDF.

On Sunday evening, the second night of Chanukah, many American and Israeli families from Bet Shemesh joined United with Israel for its sixth annual Chanukah celebration on an IDF base organized by United with Israel and Thank Israeli Soldiers.

As always, the soldiers were thrilled to celebrate with these families, knowing that they all deeply appreciate their heroism and dedication.

The young men and women serving at Har Gilo form an integral part of Israel’s front line against terror and have helped to prevent numerous attacks against Israelis.

Male and female soldiers serve equally at the Har Gilo army base, located in a strategic area bordering the Palestinian-administered territory, overlooking Bethlehem. They are constantly on the lookout for threatening situations, including terrorists who may attempt to infiltrate Jewish communities.

2016 chanukah party

Children present the soldiers with Chanukah gifts – warm fleece jackets. (Laura Ben-David)

As a way of saying ‘thank you’ for protecting them, the visitors presented the soldiers with special gifts, including essentials such as warm winter fleece jackets as well as Chanukah packages that contained a menorah, candles, chocolate treats and notes of support from admirers around the world.

The event featured festive music, dancing, a delicious meal, sufganiot (jelly donuts), and the traditional lighting of the Chanukah menorah.

Just as the Maccabees, over 2,000 years ago, defended the Jewish people from their Greek enemies – the battle of a small group of courageous fighters against a mighty foe – so, too, the IDF soldiers are bravely defending the people of Israel in the modern era.

The unique menorah used at the base, known as the Sderot Menorah, was created from the remains of Hamas rockets that exploded in Israel. Nearly 20,000 rockets have been fired from Gaza since the Second Intifada in 2001.

2016 chanukah party

An IDF soldier lights a Chanukah menorah made from kassam rockets. (Laura Ben-David)

Israeli artist Yaron Bob has transformed these missiles of terror into an object of beauty and light. In fact, the story of this special menorah is the story of the Jewish People, symbolizing strength and endurance. The Sderot Menorah is for sale on the Rockets into Roses website – click here for more info.

Aba Clayman, founder of Thank Israeli Soldiers, stressed his deep gratitude to these brave heroes who put their lives on the line each and every day in order to defend freedom everywhere.

Michael Gerbitz, founder of United with Israel, read just a few of the hundreds of personal messages of encouragement for the soldiers received from supporters around the world.

2016 chanukah party

(Laura Ben-David)

Indeed, these friends of Israel and the IDF are diverse, including, for example, a Buddhist from India. Many thanked the IDF for protecting not only Israel, but the entire world.

“You must know that there are millions of people around the world, even in some of the most anti-Israel countries, who love you and support you,” Gerbitz told the soldiers. “The modern-day miracles of Israel are because of your outstanding dedication for the people of Israel. You are fighting for the entire Jewish people, not just those in Israel.”

If you would like to send ‘Warm Winter’ care packages to Israeli soldiers, including fleece jackets like the ones given to the soldiers at the party, click here.

Check out the action from United with Israel’s 2016 Chanukah party.

Send 'Warm Winter' Care Packages to Israeli Soldiers - They are Cold!

We are honored to thank the young men and women of the IDF who risk their lives every day to defend the citizens of Israel.

Join us in sending winter care packages and personal notes of support to Israeli soldiers who are out in the cold all day.

Warm up a soldier's heart with essential winter wear including fleece jackets. Keep an entire unit warm by ordering 10 packages... The soldiers truly appreciate your love and concern!