War tests the souls of the men and women who fight, and the nation that sends them.
As Israel’s Operation Protective Edge entered its fourth week, The Tower Magazine’s photographer Aviram Valdman braved the missile fire in the south in order to document the life of IDF soldiers as they readied themselves for the intense urban combat of the Gaza Strip. He found the men of an army post near the border determined, professional, and even capable of a laugh or two as they prepared to fight a harsh battle against a brutal and ruthless enemy, the terrorist group Hamas.
In Gaza, they will face mortal danger, possible kidnapping, and the heavy responsibility of avoiding as many civilian casualties as possible. Yet their morale is high, buoyed by near-unanimous support from the public—expressed by Israelis who come to cheer them on. Together, they load their weapons, check their armored vehicles, camouflage themselves for combat, and look on as the media continues its 24-hour coverage of the ongoing war. And off in the near-distance, Valdman also glimpsed the inferno of combat, as smoke from the battle rose into a serene and beautiful sky as the sun set over the Gaza Strip. Over 2,000 years ago, the legendary Greek poet Homer spoke of a “rosy-fingered dawn” rising over the Greek heroes who fought the epic Trojan War. Here are Israel’s own heroes, prepared to fight a very different war beneath a rosy-fingered dusk.
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Banner Photo: Aviram Valdman / The Tower