Barak association

Mrs. Eti Ben Shoham, the widow of Col. Yizhak Ben Shoham, our brigade commander who fell in the Yom Kippur war, established the “Barak Association – Families and Friends for Welfare and Commemoration” in 1998.
The association was created to support active fighters and commanders during and after their military service, and to commemorate our fallen soldiers. 

The Barak Association is based on mutual trust, friendship, and family spirit. The association’s focus is on passing on the legacy of the 188 Barak (“lightning”) Armored Brigade as the leading armored unit in the IDF.

The association is managed by a volunteer board of directors (BOD) under the supervision of an audit committee and holds a yearly general meeting. In addition, a legal counsel and a CPA office accompany the association, and together with the BOD, ensure good governance. Since its establishment, the association supports the 188th Brigade in both routine and emergency times and is part of the annual workplan of the brigade.

 

Our vision is preserving and commemorating the legacy of the brigade 

Our goal is to renovate the old, dilapidated building in the brigade’s HQ and the adjacent memorial garden and turn them into a visitor’s center – a commemoration site for the fallen soldiers, the bereaved families, soldiers and for travelers in the Golan Heights.

One guiding objective for the planners was to turn the site into an attraction for nature-loving travelers, by adding a nature trail named after Maj. Gen. Meir Dagan, a former 188 Brigade Commander and Director of the Mossad, to the visitor’s center. Another important factor was to turn the site into a valuable experiential visitor’s center.

 

Today we are facing three main objectives: 

1. Perpetuating and passing on the legacy of the brigade

We will always cherish our legacy, from its establishment as a regular armor brigade in 1967 and even before that, as the Carmelli Infantry Brigade (note the bay of Haifa and Mount Carmel on our badge). Our site celebrates our legacy from its establishment in 1967 as the 188 Brigade under Maj. Gen. Bar-Kochva Bril through the heroic battles in the Yom Kippur War, the First Lebanon War, the Lebanon Security Strip, the Second Lebanon War, Operation Protective Edge, and up to the Iron Swords War.

 

2. Commemoration Project in the Aleika Brigade HQ in the Golan Heights. 

The commemoration project, nearly finished, came to an abrupt halt when the Iron Swords war started. Now the association is starting a fundraising campaign to complete the project for the benefit of our newly bereaved families.

 

3. Welfare of the Brigade’s Soldiers

This third objective received an even more meaningful focus during the current ongoing war, with the need to provide support to the wounded soldiers and bereaved families, in full cooperation with the casualty unit of the Brigade. This is in addition to supporting the families of our soldiers, NCOs, officers, and reservists – our grand Barak family.

 

The Iron Swords war changed our short-term objectives overnight. We had to shift our focus in real time, turning into a full support machine for the Brigade in all civil logistical areas, delivering to all our units around 20 tons of personal items that were donated, purchased, and collected for our soldiers. Among the items were warm clothes, personal hygiene items, work tools and equipment, and even generators.

When the war started, the association took upon itself to accompany and visit the tens of wounded soldiers and support their families, and to help and support the twelve new bereaved families.

 

Alongside all the grief and sorrow, the Barak association and its many volunteers, turned into “a phenomenon of nature”, a full support machine with ‘lightning’ in their eyes and love in their hearts for all members of the extended Barak family. 

The Barak community is the motivating force behind all that we do because of the special feelings of belonging, purpose, unit pride and family which it has fostered. Some of our projects include establishing mental health programs and opening a call center to help everyone in need: soldiers, veterans, and families. We embraced our bereaved families and our wounded soldiers with love. We took upon ourselves, together with the Casualty Department, to upgrade all the memorial pages of the fallen soldiers. In addition, we decided that each one of the young women and men that stand before recruitment will be familiar with the book “On the Edge” and the heroic legacy of our Brigade. We established contact with all former Brigade commanders and enlisted them as part of our community, created strong connections with the spouses of our officers, and much more.

The Barak community is not a slogan. For us it is a way of life. We are counting on all of you to join us for

many more years of active involvement for the benefit of our 188 Brigade.

https://giveback.co.il/project/71751?lang=en