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"An army marches on its stomach," Napoleon Bonaparte declared, although it is doubtful that the French army in the late 18th-century had the kind of food the IDF is about to begin feeding its soldiers.
On Sunday, the Defense Ministry announced that a joint Israeli-US venture had won a tender to begin supplying catered food to 30 IDF bases starting in June. The project has been called Mil, a Hebrew acronym for "food directly to the soldier."
The bases - including IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, Tel Hashomer, Tzrifin and others in the South - will do away with the kitchens where food was cooked and served to generations of soldiers and begin receiving daily shipments of catered and sometimes even gourmet-style food.
"We are talking about a major improvement in the quality of the goods and in the cooking," said Yitzhak Bloch, deputy head of the Defense Ministry's Procurement and Production Branch, who is in charge of the project. "To raise the level of the soldiers' satisfaction, we need to first raise the quality of food that the soldiers eat."
The tender, valued at tens of millions of shekels, was won by Dan Hotels, Eltal Technology and an American company called TWI Food Services that cooks and distributes food for the US armed forces. The food will be cooked in one or two centers and will be distributed weekly, and sometimes daily, to military bases.
The type of food will also be a revolution in the IDF. Soldiers will no longer eat greasy and oily dishes but will be fed foods ranging from felafel to hamburgers and steaks.
"We are changing our methods of military cooking and are going from cooking and serving to cooking and freezing," said Bloch.
The first stage of the tender will be to cook and distribute food to the 30 bases, mostly in major urban centers, like Tel Aviv and Beersheba. The second stage will comprise another tender for feeding the rest of the IDF, including bases in isolated places in the Galilee and Negev.
Bloch said that TWI, due to its work with the US military, has become an expert at "getting food everywhere it is needed."