Foreign volunteers help IDF rebuild

Volunteers from abroad are in Israel to help IDF Northern Command recover from last summer's war in Lebanon. Thirteen men and women aged 46 to 78 from the US, Belgium, Switzerland and Sweden are working with soldiers at the Amiad base in the Galilee as part of the army's Sar-El program. They work in kitchens, refurbish munitions and equipment, and clean bomb shelters used during Katyusha attacks. "We wanted to help the people because they deserve it," Anna Marie, a Belgian retiree who came with her husband, told The Jerusalem Post. "My husband and I saw images of the war during the summer and decided to come to Israel and help out." For Anna's husband, Gido, coming to the North to contribute to the rebuilding process strengthens his connection to the country. "We support you more after the war," he said. "Most people don't really know why the war happened or what happened over the course of the summer. In Belgium, we support the war. Our politics are going left, but we are not. Belgians support Israel and I support Israel, and when I go back home this is what I will tell people." The volunteers work during the week and go touring over the weekend. "The units are very happy to receive the volunteers because of their high motivation... and the commanders are happy to have them because they work hard and have a very Zionist outlook, which allows the soldiers to connect with Diaspora Jewry," Sar-El commander Maj. Tiran Attia told the Post.