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Visit to Keter Plastics Factory and Golani Brigade Memorial

Another sucess for the Tiyulim Committee - Visiting the Keter factory and the Golani Brigade Memorial and Museum at Golani Junction

A group of 55 South African expats filled a bus on 25 April eagerly anticipating another exciting and informative day arranged by the Telfed Tiyul committee. A further 5 passengers joined the bus in Netanya. We enjoyed another resounding success with the visit to the Keter Factor at Alon Tavor, the industrial area serving the northern city of Afula. This was followed by a very moving and somewhat emotionally charged visit to the Golani Brigade Memorial and Museum at Golani Junction.

Bookings for this tiyul were oversubscribed and we were unfortunately not able to satisfy the demand with bookings taken on a first come first served basis. Joining the tour group on the bus for this tiyul was Telfed Chairman, Maish Isaacson, Head of Volunteering and Events, Dana Ben Chail and former Telfed Director, Sid Shapiro. We are very grateful that Keter director, Steve Taylor, facilitated all the arrangements for the visit. Once we were on our way, Yisroel Bloch said the Tefillat Haderech, during the journey Peter Bailey gave a commentary on the places of interest being passed on route to Afula and then later on the road from Afula to the Golani Junction.

We were welcomed to Keter by the manager of the plastics manufacturing plant, Yair Braverman, who immediately ushered into their well appointed sales centre and showroom where we were treated to a sumptuous tea. After the tea we were given an introductory talk and then split into two groups. While one group did a tour of the factory floor, the other group watched an audio visual introduction the the amazing range of products manufactured at the facility. The two groups then switched over until lunch time and a potentially embarrassing situation. We were expecting to enjoy a lunch in the Keter staff canteen, but the wires somehow got crossed, and the canteen was not expecting us nor could they cope with the sudden influx of 61 lunch diners.

All credit to Yair and his staff at Keter, within a few short minutes of realising what had happened,a restaurant in Afula was booked for 61 people for lunch in 30 minutes time. We arrived at Ha'achuza Grill Bar in Afula at 13:00 to be met with 61 hurriedly prepared English lunch menus offering a variety of about 15 - 20 different lunch dishes. Loads of salads, dips and other hors d'oeuvres magically appeared on the table, of a restaurant that was  by no means empty when we arrived. Several people commented that the quality of “kettering” of the lunch was outstanding. Needless to say, by 14:00, exactly one hour later , we had all enjoyed a delicious lunch, and were ready to board the bus and leave for the Golani Memorial.

The group was welcomed with a brief  history of the Golani Brigade by National Servicemen who make up the staff complement for the Memorial and Museum complex. We then visited the Memorial Room, where over 3,000 Memorial Books, each one containing a pictorial and written life history is dedicated to each Golani Brigade soldier who has fallen in the defence of Israel. We were all emotionally touched seeing the photographs of so many young men who had made the supreme sacrifice and given their lives for Israel. To me this the true essence of the narrative of the success of this  wonderful country in which we live.

The memorial room visit was followed by a 20 minute audio visual production showing us a brief pictorial history of the Brigade, interspersed with sections on the officers who had commanded the Brigade during the different periods of its history. Three officers who commanded Golani, Generals Mordechai Gur, Gabi Ashkenazi and Gadi Eizenkot all rose to become Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Forces. With time running short, we had a brief look at some of the exhibits, many of them First World War armaments which was all the IDF had available at the time of the Declaration of Independence by David Ben Gurion in 1948. The victories achieved in the war of 1948, forced on Israel by the Arab aggressors become more amazing when one realizes the limited, and in many cases, antique armaments that they had available.

Thus ended another great Telfed  tiyul as we all boarded the bus to return to our starting point, Netanya for some and Raanana for the rest of us. A final word of thanks to Dana Ben Chail who is not only the head of events, she is our interpreter when our inadequate Hebrew fails us, she makes all the prior arrangements for our visits, books the bus and smoothes all the problems we encounter on the way. A successful and a safe journey to Dana and the other Telfed staff members who are off to South Africa on 11 May for an Aliyah exhibition.

Article written by Peter Bailey

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