IDF soldier and Palestinian kid in snow

It really was a breath of fresh air for the families of Palestinian cancer patients who spent a day at Mount Hermon in the north of Israel. IDF reservists from the Alpine Unit treated the families of Palestinian children diagnosed with cancer to a fun day on the slopes.

The happening was part of a decade-long project in which soldiers bring up groups of mentally or physically disabled children, as well as children with terminal illnesses, to Mt. Hermon for a day of fun and relaxation.

The project is funded by the Erez Organization, a non-profit organization which consists of reserve soldiers of the Alpine Unit, and the Civil Administration, an Israeli body responsible for administering and coordinating civilian and humanitarian needs in the West Bank.

“It’s a day of fun which helps these children deal with their illness,” said Dalia Bassa, Health and Welfare Coordinator in the Civil Administration. She said that groups of Palestinian kids go to Mt. Hermon every year and that “the families call annually to remind me of the coming snowfall.”

Although some of the children need to wear hospital masks or walk with a crutch, the day trip gives the families a much needed respite from their regular medical routine. And the IDF reservists provide them with VIP treatment.

“You see kids in green uniform playing with kids in civilian clothes,” said the commander of the Alpine Unit, who also invited a number of soldiers from the Nachal Brigade to join the fun. “I don’t presume to be a peacemaker or anything, but regardless of anyone’s personal politics it was simply a sight that did the heart good.”