Sunday, June 12, 2011
Golani Runners Visit Rambam Hospital
The 26th annual Golani Run is underway. The run began at Mount Hermon, in Israel’s northern tip, and will continue southward until it reaches Eilat on Thursday.
The solidres renewed a tradition that had been temporarily discontinued, when a group of about 50 of them visited child patients at Haifa's Rambam Hospital on their way south, and gave them sweets and gifts.
High school students from throughout Israel and representatives of the various youth movements will join the Golani Brigade soldiers along the way, as will representatives of the local authorities hosting the run, representatives of the Association for Well-being of Israel’s Soldiers and firms that are part of the Adopt a Soldier program.
The Golani Run is an inseparable part of the Brigade’s heritage and values. Soldiers will hear descriptions of the brigade’s history, from the battles of 1948 to the present day, on all fronts.
The run is intended to encourage youth to enlist for combat service, strengthen the ties between the IDF and communities within the general population, help the soldiers maintain physical fitness and encourage love of the Land of Israel.
The Israel Police are helping by blocking off certain junctions to vehicular traffic for short periods of time to allow the runners through. Care will be taken to disturb traffic flow as little as possible.
Golani Soldiers Run for Israel from Hermon to Eilat
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The annual Golani Run for Israel began on Sunday at Mount Hermon at the northernmost tip of Israel and continues until Thursday to Eilat, the southernmost point in the Jewish State. Hundreds of soldiers are taking part in the event which includes community service in over 50 cities. This years run focuses on youth movements, which often encourage participants towards important service in the IDF. Golani Colonel Avi Peled started off the race Sunday, and on Monday he will visit soldier Nariya Biderman who was severely wounded during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.
During the race, soldiers will visit children at Sheba Hospital in the Tel Hashomer medical complex and the Schneider Medical Center in Petach Tikva as well as join students from Sderot in a joint run.
In contrast to other countries' armies, the IDF is the army of the people, Private Ariel Gulai said during a hospital visit. There is a central connection between the IDF and the people.
The Golani Brigade (Hebrew: חֲטִיבַת גּוֹלָנִי, also known as the 1st Brigade) is an Israeli infantry brigade that is subordinated to the 36th Division and traditionally associated with the Northern Command. Its symbol is a green tree on a yellow background, and its soldiers wear a brown beret. It is one of the most highly decorated infantry units in the Israel Defense Forces. The brigade consists of five battalions, including two which it kept from its inception (12th and 13th), one transferred from Givati (51st), and two special forces battalions.
The brigade was formed on February 22, 1948 during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, when the Levanoni Brigade in the Galilee split into the 1st Golani Brigade and the 2nd Carmeli Brigade. It has since participated in all of Israel's major wars and nearly all major operations, including the Sinai War, Six-Day War, War of Attrition, Yom Kippur War, Operation Entebbe, Operation Litani, the first and second wars in Lebanon, and various operations during the Palestinian intifadas.
Two of its commanders, Mordechai Gur and Gabi Ashkenazi, became IDF Chiefs of Staff. Many more reached the rank of Aluf (Major General).
The symbol of the brigade is a green olive tree with its roots on a yellow background. It was drawn by the 12th Battalion's intelligence officer, who came from kibbutz Beit Keshet, home to numerous olive trees. The colors green and yellow symbolize the green hills of the Galilee, where the brigade was stationed at the time of its creation and the olive tree is known for its strong roots that penetrate and firmly hold the land, reflecting the brigade's connection with the State of Israel's heritage. The yellow background on which the tree stands reflects the brigade's role in the south of the country in the war of 1948, when it captured Umm-Rashrash, now Eilat, Israel's southernmost city.
Early Golani soldiers were farmers and new immigrants, so the strong connection to the land (earth) was important to symbolize. For this reason, Golani's soldiers are designated by brown berets. The brown symbolizes the brigade's connection with the soil of the Land of Israel.
The Golani Brigade's official song was written by Amos Ettinger, composed by Efi Netzer and popularly performed by Yehoram Gaon. The song mentions the brigade's many battles, including references to Rafah in the Sinai War, Tel Faher in the Six-Day War, and Mount Hermon in the Yom Kippur War.