Below is a letter from Sergeant Ori Bar Zvi of the Israeli Defense Forces. He writes about what life is like for young adults living in Israel, and shares some of the horrors of war experienced by his friends who are currently fighting in Gaza.
Please read, share this letter through your social media outlets, and continue to pray for Israel!
My Dear Lovers of Israel,
I am writing to you a few days after my return to my beloved Holy Land, the State of Israel. Last time I wrote, my heart was very heavy as I shared with you the tragedy of war and the loss of so many young lives.
Today I want to share a more optimistic point of view as most of my soldier friends returned home last weekend and had time to rest and be with their families and friends.
When I spoke to my friends, some of them said that ironically they received more courage and energy to fight Hamas after seeing their friends get hit and killed by the enemy.
You have to understand how difficult it is for 20 year old soldiers to fight in Gaza, knowing that they are fighting a terror organization that would do anything just to kill or kidnap them. In addition to that, the battles are at point blank – you can literally see the eyes of the enemy at very close range. Israeli soldiers are surrounded by terror tunnels built by Hamas from the materials that were meant to build schools, hospitals and businesses for the citizens of Gaza. The situation is bleak regardless of how you look at it. Please join me in prayer for all the Israeli soldiers fighting to protect the Holy Land.
Israel is one of few countries in the world where military service is obligatory. Boys are required to serve 3 years while girls are required to serve 2. I still remember the day I joined the Israeli army very clearly.
There are so many rules, and the commanding officers are very tough on the soldiers. There is no room for mistakes. When you begin serving, your world changes in a day and everything becomes so much more difficult.
Our commanders become our new parents and our colleagues become our new brothers. We spend most of our service at the army base and wake up every morning at 4 a.m. Why so early? Well there really is no perception of time when you serve in the army. But do not feel sorry for me or my friends – we are so proud to have the right to serve and protect our nation.
There is such a great feeling of pride when you serve your country; it even becomes natural to be willing to give your life for your country.
After serving our time in the military, most young Israelis travel the world for a few months to a year. The reason for doing this is simple. We want to feel “free” again, to be responsible for ourselves without receiving orders all day long. We desire a change of pace.
Just last March I flew to South America. While there, I visited so many beautiful countries and met so many Israelis and other young people from all over the world. However, it was very difficult to hear about the war while traveling abroad. I wanted to disconnect for a few months, but suddenly I found myself looking for every available internet connection to check for news on the current situation in Israel. Going over the list of those who fell in the battle, praying it was not one of my friends. But I am proud to share with you that I was a good ambassador for Israel in South America as so many people there cannot understand the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
I returned to Israel last Saturday, and coming back to the Holy Land was one of the most exciting things I have ever experienced. I have seen beautiful places all around the world but nothing compares to Israel. The magic and history of this land of the Bible coupled with its natural beauty truly makes it one of the most wonderful places on earth.
God is watching Israel and God is watching those who love Israel. I send you my warm regards from Zion.
Ori Bar Zvi
To learn more about Daystar’s work in Israel, and for ways that you can get involved, please visit Daystar.com/Israel.