I know it may sound strange, even a little bizarre, but I must say that going to visit wounded soldiers in Seroka hospital was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. I returned home feeling re-energized and rejuvenated after 6 weeks of heartbreak and war.
Before we even got to the hospital I witnessed something incredible. We were lugging our packages along from where we had parked about a block away when a cab pulled up in front of us.
“Is that for the chayalim?”
The taxi driver would not take no for an answer. We got in the car for the 35 second drive from where we were standing to the hospital entrance. The driver handed us his card and said- “If you know anyone who is looking to do anything for any chayal, you give him my number.” And with that he got back in his car and carried on his way.
Upon entering the hospital there was a big Israeli flag made out of balloons proudly on display, brought there this morning by an organization looking to raise the peoples spirits. As we began to make our rounds through the chayal flooded hallways with the cases of snacks and food we had brought along (all donated by random strangers if I may add) we realized that there was no need to have brought anything.
The first floor had 2 overladen tables with a nurse standing by whose sole job was to organize the food as it came in. Every room we entered was covered in balloons, signs made by children and of course, food, brought by the hundreds of well-wishers who had beat us to the task. We met the new President of Israel, Rubi Rivlin on the second floor who was there to do exactly the same thing we were. He thanked us for visiting and I just tried not to majorly fan-girl.
The third floor was flooded with youth who had come for the Golan with fresh produce for anyone and everyone who had come to visit. They were handing out stickers that read” The Golan is here to stregthen during Operation Protective Edge.” Everyone, the entire country feels connected and responsible at a time like this.
The chayalim we met were in good spirits, their families happy to see us and of course to know that their family members mattered so much to us. Smiles were on every face where I had expected to see only tears.
There is no nation like Israel. There is no people like the Jewish people. I went to the south to visit the chayalim, to try and cheer them up and to thank them for their service but the truth is, they did me a greater service. I left the hospital with a smile on my face and a renewed hope in my heart. Sometimes we just need a simple reminder of how incredible this country truly is to give us the energy boost we need to keep on fighting.