By Louis Malul, P2K Steering Committee Member
On the occasion of Israel's 60th anniversary, the Jewish Agency, through Partnership 2000, and the Israel National Geographic Company teamed up to launch the first Desert Queen expedition in Israel. Included among the expedition's participants were representatives of the Kiryat Motzkin-Orlando partnership: for Kiryat Motzkin, Louis Maloul, P2K Steering Committee member and Judy Yuda, JAFI Partnership Director and Rene Brant and Jody Kringer from Orlando.
During the expedition the women were hosted at the Karakal army base, part of the Nahal Brigade which, for the first time in IDF history, has women soldiers serving in combat positions along with their male counterparts. An amazing connection instantly formed as the Kiryat Motzkin-Orlando partnership made the decision to adopt the brigade. Students from Kiryat Motzkin and Orlando will raise money, and, backed by Partnership funds, will fund a project for the benefit of the soldiers. After consulting with the brigade's commander, they decided to establish a heritage room on the base.
Students of ORT Yonatan Junior High School in Kiryat Motzkin happily enlisted for the project and have begun collecting funds. At the same time, members of the Student Council chose to start off the new connection 'sweetly' by collecting huge amounts of sweets for the soldiers.
Representatives of the Karakal brigade came to the school to collect the boxes of treats in an encounter that was very moving for both the students and the soldiers.
The Orlando students have already started raising money for the project and sent letters to the soldiers, slipped into the boxes of sweets. The soldiers, full of emotion, signed the 'Gilat Shalit is Still Alive' board-posted in the school in order to raise awareness for Gilad's plight and as part of the school's mobilization for the struggle to release him.
To cap things off, the chair of the Student Council presented the Karakal representatives with a picture on which was written:"The community of ORT Yonatan Netanyahu Junior High School adopts, with love and an embrace, the fighters of the Karkal Brigade."