Golani Brigade soldiers say leaving Gaza stronger than ever

Brigade pays heavy toll during current war with more than 80 fallen soldiers, including senior commanders, yet reaches historic achievements; after leaving Gaza, three soldiers are looking forward to returning to 'wherever they need us'

"The message of the Golani Brigade is unity," says Elisaf Ashuel, a soldier in the 51st Battalion. Inside Gaza we fought shoulder to shoulder with all the units, and this is the message we also left with. The most important thing is to maintain unity. We all have a common goal, to return the abductees, complete the mission and restore peace to the State of Israel."
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Corporal Neta Semet, a soldier in the 13th Battalion; Sergeant Roy Terua, a Golani soldier and Staff Sergeant Elisaf Ashuel, from the 51st Battalion left Gaza on Monday after many weeks of fighting around the clock inside Gaza.
The moment when they crossed the border is definitely critical, but for them it is only a matter of time before they go back: "Right now we are taking care of the equipment and taking some time for the soul," Terua says. "The fighting continues and will return to wherever they need us."
Semet adds: "We are organizing the equipment and ourselves, mental preparation and physical preparation. The war is not over even if right now the division has left Gaza. We are ready to continue the missions, we are not stopping, we are all ready and waiting to return." It is important that they know that the division came out strong, stronger than ever and we remain strong in spirit."

The three soldiers had not yet arrived home, and missed the obvious things such as a hot shower, a mother's hug and good food. However, according to Neta, "The food has improved wonders. They brought in pretty good food, and even brought chefs into Gaza."
It will certainly take time for Golani and all the soldiers to process the events they experienced in these weeks, but even now, they have one moment they remember clearly.
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נטע סמט רועי תרועה אליסף אשואל
נטע סמט רועי תרועה אליסף אשואל
The soldiers will return to where they are needed
"The most defining moment for me was when our Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Tomer Greenberg, and my Company Commander Major Roy Meldasi, were killed," says Semet. "It was a very difficult, bloody battle, and these are inspiring people, they prepared us for the war, they trained us. The news of their deaths was very difficult. The next morning, the new battalion commander entered Gaza, and our motivation only increased. We took everything they taught us and understood that this was their will, that we continue. The task is on our shoulders and we will do it the best. We will continue their path forever."
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סא"ל תומר גרינברג ז"ל
סא"ל תומר גרינברג ז"ל
The late Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Tomer Greenberg
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
The battalion remained to fight for another week and a half inside Shijaiyah after the difficult event. We came to destroy and deal with all the evil and hatred that exists in this place and that's what we did."
I immediately realized that I had to go back and continue for him, I know that this is what he would have wanted, and I performed the best I could, also for his sake
Roy describes his defining moment: when he was informed that his good friend from home, the late Sergeant Yair Nifosi, a soldier in the 101st Paratrooper Battalion, had fallen in battle: "We are friends from second grade and I received the news of his death two and a half weeks after it happened, during a ceasefire. I cried, of course, and went to visit the family. I immediately realized that I had to go back and continue for him, I know that this is what he would have wanted, and I performed the best that I could, also for his sake."
Elisaf recounts his moment: "In the last round, there were very strong emotions, there was a lot of fighting spirit. I looked at the friends around me, I saw the bad things and I concluded in my heart that I am ready for anything that will come my way, it was a moment that I take with me from there."
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