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W's Story

May 16th, 2024 |HaTikva Families

Following the outbreak of the October 7th war, Israel rapidly mobilized tens of thousands of reserve soldiers and abruptly thrust them into combat with a depraved enemy. The men who answered the call were not the typical image that a “combat soldier” brings to mind. Many were fathers in their 30s who served in the military when they were younger but have been working in regular careers and leading non-military lives since then. They were accountants, plumbers, media professionals, and even worship leaders. Within a few hours’ notice, they dusted off their old uniforms, kissed their wives and children goodbye, and headed toward Gaza, not knowing what awaited them there.

The atrocities that they encountered were unfathomable. Many of them spent months experiencing the worst horrors that war has to offer, even losing close friends who fought alongside them.

As the campaign in Gaza began to wane, the IDF sent soldiers home to return to the lives they had been previously living.  But how could they possibly process the human tragedy they saw within such a swift transition?  Many struggled to reconnect with their family as they were physically present at home, but their minds were still in the battle. HaTikva Project stepped in to help with this critical need to send these soldiers and their families for respite retreats abroad where the family could spend a few weeks in a serene location, with all of their needs met and with the assistance of counselors, to recover emotionally and spiritually and reconnect with each other.

HaTIkva Project sent the W. family to a restorative retreat in Texas. The father of the family had been called up to reserves and spent two months in Gaza, and for two months, his wife didn’t know if he would return or what shape he would be in when he did. When his tour of duty ended and he came home safe, he was struggling to cope with what he had been through. He writes:

“The trip HaTikva sent us on came as such a blessing to us as we now get to spend some amazing quality time together. Arriving at our first destination, we saw the Israeli flag flying on the lawn, being hugged by the American flag, and it is an image we will never forget! The W. family is sending you all a hug and thanking you for making this a reality.”

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