Hard men up to Israel challenge

By James Martin, March 12, 2009
Emunah’s action men find themselves between a rock and a hard place

Emunah’s action men find themselves between a rock and a hard place

Twelve action men have returned to Britain after a gruelling physical ordeal in the Judean desert to raise over £50,000 for a children’s care village and a phone counselling service for families in Sderot.

Emunah’s Triple-E Challenge involved participants in five days of intense activity and teamwork in un-usually bad weather. They were galvanised by a visit to one of the beneficiaries — the Neve Landy Children’s Village in the rural district of Even Shmuel — reported Hendon fitness trainer Neil Isaacson.

“Seeing the way the children are looked after by the home let us know that the hard work that was to come was all worthwhile. Some of them are from very difficult backgrounds where their parents can’t look after them properly. So being in a warm, nurturing environment gives them a chance in life.”

Mr Isaacson, 45, said the trip had been “inspirational. All of us were happy to co-operate in the name of a fantastic cause.”

He also credited the training and guidance provided by Major Maxie Katzir and fellow desert expert Irad Fenichel. “They were invaluable to our being able to gel together and work so well as a team.

“On the first day we were divided into three groups and put through team-building exercises. This was vital as we ranged in ages from 19-61 and didn’t all know each other.”

A punishing schedule included trudging up the rocky climes of the Judean Hills, abseiling down cliffs, taking the most arduous route up Mount Masada and cycling down Mount Sodom.

But the most testing challenge was rebuilding a washed-away road following heavy rain to enable their vehicles to pass. “We spent three hours smoothing the road and filling it with rocks so we could get our Jeeps through,” explained Alan Perrin, 50, from Golders Green, the husband of Triple E administrator Bayla Perrin.

The youngest particpant, 19-year-old Londoner Julian Gertner, took a week off from his medical studies after being asked “to fill-in for a late cancellation. I am so happy I did.”

A follow-up to the charity’s successful “Jewish princesses” events for women, the men’s programme ended with a Bedouin feast.

Mrs Perrin congratulated participants on doing “brilliantly considering the severe weather, which included floods, avalanches and rock falls. It also proved a challenge for our ground crew who had to alter the logistics to meet the weather conditions.”

Last updated: 2:04pm, March 12 2009