This week, Israel hit its hottest day in five years. Sweltering temperatures have been recorded in cities throughout the country.
“When people are hot, they can choose to sit in the shade or enjoy indoor air-conditioning,” Dr. John A.I. Grossman, LIBI USA Chairman told Breaking Israel News. “But IDF soldiers don’t have that option. They are responsible for manning their stations in full gear while wearing heavy uniforms, allowing Israelis to enjoy their summer vacation in security.”
Temperatures reached 43 Celsius/109.4 Fahrenheit in Tiberius in the north and Ein Gedi in the south, 33 Celsius/91.4 Fahrenheit in centrally located Tel Aviv, 40 Celsius/104 Fahrenheit in Jerusalem and 45 Celsius/113 Fahrenheit in southern Eilat. In other words, all borders and areas in Israel were steaming.
Not only were temperatures soaring, but humidity reached over eighty percent in some locations, both along the shoreline and inland.
The heat wave has led to several hospitalizations and serious health complications, including deaths. This week eighteen-year-old IDF Private Dan Sela collapsed from the heat during an army tour of Jerusalem’s Old City. He was pronounced dead of sunstroke after being rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
IDF Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot has asked commanders to strictly follow army regulations during this heat wave to avoid any other tragedies.
The Health Ministry, along with Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency services, has advised that the average resident drink at least three liters of water a day, rest, and wear a hat when outside, along with sunglasses and sunscreen.
“Our soldiers need to stay hydrated in order to stay alert and healthy while they protect Israeli borders,” added Grossman.
In response to the heat wave, LIBI has increased its efforts to raise much-needed funds to supply IDF soldiers with Camelback Hydration Packs. These packs keep drinking water close at hand. They fit conveniently in army backpacks and have an easily accessible straw so that soldiers can maintain their position at all times.
Soldiers are trained to recognize signs of dehydration such as headache, dizziness or general weakness. Should fainting occur, the soldier has already reached hypothermia, which can be caused by heatstroke and requires emergency care. Camelback Hydration Packs help to avoid this dangerous scenario.
The severe heat and humidity forced the Israel Nature and Parks Authority to close certain hiking trails around the country. They reminded hikers that should they choose to be outdoors during this heat wave, carrying plenty of water is a must.
“Soldiers can’t choose their assignments. But, we can choose to help soldiers succeed with their duties by giving them helpful supplies,” noted Grossman.