- Israeli soldiers are short of basic supplies as the Gaza ground invasion looms.
- Grassroots efforts are plugging holes in the IDF’s military supply chain, says an NPR report.
- Hundreds of thousands of Israeli troops have been massed on the border, awaiting instruction.
Israeli soldiers are relying on a mass volunteer effort to supply them with necessities, including underwear, as thousands have been called up ahead of an expected Gaza ground offensive, a report says.
A volunteer effort has sprung up across the country to supply troops with needed supplies, which critics say the government fails to provide.
Etai Iam Rimer, a volunteer helping gather supplies, told NPR that requests have been flooding in, often from soldiers’ family members. He said that the requests were large, with some people asking for 500-800 per item for entire units.
“Everything you can imagine,” he said, “from vests to knee protectors to helmets to flashlights to underwear.”
Another volunteer gathering donations for troops, Maya Armon, told NPR that soldiers have been requesting everything from underwear to tactical gear.
Volunteers are getting creative while trying to transport the needed supplies — NPR producer Liz Baker said that when she flew from Boston to Tel Aviv, she saw a volunteer asking passengers to take boxes and duffel bags of supplies for Israeli troops.
Armon said that it was “embarrassing” that volunteers were the ones providing these supplies and said that she believed it should be the responsibility of the government.
Rimer echoed those concerns about government inaction, telling NPR: “There is zero organization. That’s how I feel as a citizen.”
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“We are doing everything we can, but the government is just not,” he said.
The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement to NPR that it is providing “full logistical support for both mandatory and reserve soldiers, including medical gear, personal essentials, and combat supplies, all tailored to meet operational demands within the IDF.”
It also pointed to a round-the-clock hotline set up for troops to report equipment deficiencies or shortages.
The Ministry of Defense said that tens of thousands of items were on their way, including helmets, bulletproof vests, and more, after Israeli media began reporting on the shortages, per NPR.
The Israeli Ministry of Defense and IDF did not respond to requests for comment from Insider.
Along with helping gather supplies for soldiers, volunteers have also been donating blood and have opened their homes to citizens who fled the attacks in the south, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.
Following the October 7 Hamas attack, Israel has called up hundreds of thousands of reservists, many of whom are amassed by the Gaza border and awaiting orders.
The Hamas attacks, which left at least 1,400 people in the country dead, shook faith among the Israeli people in their government’s ability to protect its citizens.
“Unfortunately, this war has shown us that not only we had problems in the intelligence part of the army, but a lot of the backstage collapsed as well,” Michal Geva, who is part of a volunteer corps, told NPR. “Unfortunately, I would say everything.”
Israel expanded its military operations in the Gaza territory in the early morning hours of October 28, following weeks of mobilization.
IDF officials so far have declined to confirm the actions are part of an anticipated full-scale ground invasion. Internet and cellular service has been cut off in the region, limiting firsthand reports on the ground.