Soldiers Describe 'Miracles' From Cast Lead Firefights

Short film 'How God Fought in Gaza' portrays Gaza fighting as divine intervention for sake of IDF.

The Israel Defense Forces' success during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip earlier this year was the result of the divine intervention, according to recently released video created by a newly-religious Israeli filmmaker.

The 40-minute film, How God Fought in Gaza, is currently being featured on the Kabbalah World, Web site.

The Hebrew-language film opens with footage from the Holocaust as the narrator describes what he calls a series of "miracles" from the history of the Jewish people, including the exodus from Egypt, Moses' striking the stone to bring water, and finally, Operation Cast Lead.

The film features archived footage from Cast Lead, as well as interviews with enlisted men and officers who served in the operation. During the interviews, which were filmed on IDF facilities, soldiers describe "miraculous" firefights where IDF troops emerged without a scratch only through the grace of God.

In most of the interviews the soldiers' faces are obscured and their names and rank are not given.

In one interview, an unnamed soldier describes a chaotic firefight as troops entered the Gaza Strip and "RPGs, (Rocket-Propelled Grenades) everything were flying at the APCs (Armored Personnel Carriers) and nothing was hit. People were praying, laying on phylacteries, reading the book of Zohar. When you have God with you, things seem to work out."

Another soldier, interviewed in an IDF mess hall, tells the filmmakers "it was a miracle, the terrorists were very sharp?even when we threw grenades at them, they would pick them up and throw them back at us. I think that anyone who got out of there alive and well, it was because of divine intervention, a miracle."

The film was made by Yuval Ovadia, 43, a newly-religious Israeli who in the past produced a number of films on Judaism and Kabbalah.

Ovadia said he acquired most of the footage for the film online and from soldiers who sent him videos they filmed during the fighting.

The IDF spokesperson has issued a statement saying that the movie was developed through the initiative "of a handful of soldiers", adding that the IDF "views such initiatives with severity and forbids all soldiers from taking part in them."

This story will appear in full in this week's Haaretz Magazine