Language selection


Taking Gifts Across the Israeli Border

Heroes Remember

Taking Gifts Across the Israeli Border

What was probably the most saddest thing that I ever saw was the thirty people that went across and then came back home to Israel, they were bringing all sorts of stuff back from Syria. Gifts from the family or stuff, they'd gone shopping because things were a lot cheaper in Syria than they were in Israel. And they were bringing back suits and stuff like that and shoes and everything else. Well, when you got to the Israeli side, there would be a culling of this stuff. First of all, if you had a suit because it's got a thick seam there, they would take a knife and cut the seam open to check there was nothing in there. They'd open suitcases, take a screw driver and rip all the lining out of the suitcase to see there was nothing in there. Anything like hangers that were opaque, wine or perfume bottles, all would be rejected because they could have something in there and they'd just throw that all in a pile. A guy would bring back four or five pairs of socks, they'd lay them out, take a picture of the socks so they wouldn't be on the free market and try to sell them on the market or anything like this. And I was watching this and I walked over to one of the Israeli captains who just happened to be a guy from Markham, Ontario, and I said, “Mark, what is going on?” He said, “Fred, mind your own business. You've got a job to do, you do it. We'll do our job.” And you know, it was hard to be able to accept that for what it was and I know it's security and I know all this but these were just poor village people that weren't doing anybody any harm but yet they, about 25% of the stuff they brought back was confiscated.

Mr. Gallant witnesses the implications of bringing gifts across the border and the intense search actioned by the Israeli guards.

Fred Gallant

Born into an Acadian family in Mont-Carmel, Prince Edward Island, Mr. Gallant joined the Army and rose to the rank of Captain. He served two tours in Cyprus as part of the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) during the 1970s and 1980s as Battery Captain. His methods helped many soldiers and his interventions most likely saved the lives of his own, and many Greeks and Turks. Years later, now a Major, he became a UN Military Observer as part of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO), maintaining the peace between Israel, Lebanon and Syria. He worked in all three middle eastern countries and has some eye opening stories to tell.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Fred Gallant
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Royal Montreal Regiment

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: