How an Israeli Farmer with a Lemonade Stand Helped Feed 20,000 Soldiers

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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This is a great story because it shows how much of what Israel does best is ad-hoc. Especially in wartime.

It also reminds me of how New Yorkers came to feed rescue workers after September 11. A lot of those rescue workers came down with cancer, another reminder that people get things right, where governments get them wrong. That’s true in Israel, where logistics is still a mess, and the US.

It all started with a lemonade stand. “I took my kids, and I said, let’s go buy some lemons and make lemonade for the soldiers driving by,” said Doron Elbaz, the owner of a farm next to Moshav Maslul, a small town near the Gaza border

During previous conflicts, Elbaz had organized convoys bearing food for soldiers going into Gaza. But when the current operation started on July 8, it was still unclear what kind of troops would be on the ground and how many soldiers would be serving in the area. So he decided to start small, posting on Facebook that anyone driving past his farm was invited for a free cup of homemade lemonade.

“Where can we drop off our donations?” the question immediately began pouring in from across the country. Food, clothing, toiletries, meat, bread, underwear, tomatoes, shampoo, steaks, baked goods, toothpaste, socks – the people of Israel were ready to deliver, Elbaz said. Joined by a few volunteers, he started making 1,000 meals a day, for soldiers who came to rest a bit under the shade, or for soldiers who called and said, please, send us some fresh food, we can’t take the army food anymore.

Now 250 volunteers are cooking 30,000 meals per day. Twenty thousand meals are sent to troops and other people in the field, while he serves 10,000 in a makeshift camp set up outside of his farm where soldiers can come to relax or hang out. He estimates about 50,000 people come through his rest stop every day, including volunteers, soldiers, police, medics, and other people associated with the war effort.

At the rest stop, which is called “Everything is free for soldiers,” volunteers offer their services to help soldiers relax. A dozen masseurs have set up tables to offer free massages. A barber was offering free haircuts and free shaves. Two mothers were helping soldiers wash their clothes in a sink.

It’s also a reminder of how Israelis reacted during the Yom Kippur War when so many were called up urgently to the front lines with little prep time.

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  • bob smith

    Beautiful! Not much else needs be said.

  • Regina Edwards

    Such a wonderful feel-good story.

  • Stan

    To be fair, the Muslims set up gatherings kind of similar to this where they behead people.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      That’s right. This is the “moral equivalence” of an Islamic beheading: The height of community spirit you can observe in each culture.

      • Arf

        In Gaza, lending a hand to help the community means offering up your child so that one of those brave masked thugs can strap a bomb on that child. And if you don’t happen to have a child you can sacrifice, then strapping a bomb on your dog, donkey, sheep or goat will do. The media may not notice this but God does.

      • Svietka Riv

        dude-u gota learn sarcasm

  • Gee

    I remember all the kindness shown us in back in ’73. In Israel love of the people in the military has never left.

    This is why we fight – for the people of Israel

  • DogmaelJones1

    A wonderful story, Daniel. I wonder….Is the MSM noticing this? I guess not. Israelis are heartless and cruel, don’t you know?

    • Daniel Greenfield

      if it’s not a crying baby in Gaza, they couldn’t care less

      • iluvisrael

        And the world doesn’t seem to care if thousands are being slaughtered – unless there’s a Jew involved. Then they wake up with their selective outrage.

  • http://longhornproject.org/ Robin Rosenblatt

    It is better when we work together to help each other. It makes all of us stronger! That is what I am trying to do with the Israel Longhorn Project. Increase Israel’s meat production, improve meat quality, lower costs. But I need your help to do it. http://longhornproject.org

  • wileyvet

    That is how civilized people who love life do things. Great story Mr. Greenfield.

  • Arf

    The IDF is truly the people’s army. May God continue to bless them.

  • joan

    That reminds me of the North Platte Canteen that was set up during WWII to serve refreshments to U. S. soldiers passing through on trains on their way to war. It was a huge volunteer undertaking by the community, and it meant so much to the troops. God bless all those who care enough to help their troops!