Inside an unmarked building nestled within Kibbutz Kfar Etzion, situated in the heart of Gush Etzion, a dedicated group of teenage boys and girls toil relentlessly. These young individuals complete their day's work, their bodies covered in sweat and dust, diligently collecting marble after marble and placing them meticulously into boxes. If you were informed that this seemingly mundane process was an integral part of crafting some of the world's most exceptional ceramic bulletproof vests, you might find it hard to believe.

Michael Cohen, the CEO of the Etzion Yehuda Inspection Company, recently shared striking images of his company's bulletproof vests, bearing the scars of bullets, with reporters from "Israel Hayom." These vests, donned by IDF soldiers in special units during the intense battles in the Gaza Strip on October 7, undoubtedly played a pivotal role in saving their lives.

In stark contrast, older Chinese-made bulletproof vests failed to withstand armor-piercing bullets, leaving soldiers who had trusted their protection vulnerable to the perils of battle. Consequently, the Israeli-made bulletproof vest has emerged as the most sought-after choice, securing its place in the arsenal of the Ministry of Defense for special units and various other military applications.

"We are capable of producing 500 vests per day. Since the onset of the conflict, our production load has surged by several hundred percent. We are committed to supplying these essential goods to safeguard our soldiers," affirms Cohen, a physicist by training who established the company approximately two decades ago.

Cohen further explains, "Soldiers approached us with reports of strange noises emanating from their vests. Their concerns were justified, as the ceramics within the vests were fracturing, leaving them vulnerable." To illustrate his point, he retrieved a piece of ceramic from an antiquated pot and subjected it to a five-kilogram hammer blow. The result was a shattering explosion of ceramic fragments. "Following the war, the nation needed to maintain a stockpile of 200,000 vests in reserve for future contingencies. In the interim, we are working tirelessly to bridge this gap."

The location of this factory holds profound historical significance. Just one day prior to the declaration of the State of Israel, thousands of Arab assailants launched a brutal attack on the village of Kfar Etzion from the hill directly overlooking the very site where these life-saving shields for IDF soldiers are now being meticulously crafted. Tragically, many of the kibbutz residents met a gruesome fate, while others were taken captive by Jordanian forces. It is perhaps this historical backdrop that lends a poignant dimension to the fact that today, it is young boys and girls, some of whom are descendants of the settlers who valiantly defended the kibbutz in 1948, who have taken upon themselves the noble task of producing every conceivable means of protecting Israeli soldiers.

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