Summers in Israel can be so suffocatingly hot, that a mere stroll in the park can feel like an exhausting and miserable experience. Now imagine contending with that heat in full army garb, holding a heavy weapon and standing for hours on end – with nothing standing between you and the incessantly intense summer sun.
This is the reality of many combat soldiers in the IDF. While these soldiers dutifully fulfill their obligation to protect the people of Israel, there is absolutely no reason they should be miserably uncomfortable while doing so.
As such Israel 365 decided to team up with Cool Club, Inc to keep the IDF cool during this blistering summer months. The Beit Shemesh start-up designed the effective, lightweight and easy to use Cool Collars. These light-weight, wearable collars can keep a person cool for up to two hours. And what’s more, they can be easily recharged in a refrigerator, freezer, ice water and even when placed upon AC units to be recharged for as little as 20 minutes.
Hillel David Zakai, CEO of Cool Club, acknowledges that while cooling devices have been around for a while, this is the first time a cooling wearable has become so effective and practical, to be worth the wear.
“To date, cooling devices were never widely adopted in the market due to shortcomings that made them impractical for the average person,” Zakai explained, citing comfort, duration of time it lasts, and ability to recharge as being the most prominent limiting factors.
The Cool Collar works like an ice pack in that it absorbs the body’s heat in the most effective means possible – via heat transfer (versus fans or towels). The Cool Collar is infused with Cool Club’s QuickSnow technology, which is engineered to maintain a temperature of 64 degrees and avoid the hazards of frostbite and discomfort associated with ice. In contrast, the QuickSnow provides a healthy cool comfort that lasts for far longer and recharges quickly. This makes it a perfect utility for those attending music festivals, stadiums, theme parks, biking in the park, hiking up Masada or – in the case of IDF soldiers – manning a checkpoint in the boiling heat.
“Caring for our soldiers and looking out for their welfare is one of the primary projects of Israel 365,” Rabbi Tuly Weisz, founder of Israel 365 said. “The well-being of IDF soldiers are so important to our donors and it never ceases to amaze me how dedicated they are to helping them.”
Weisz cites a recent contribution from an Israel 365 donor who served two tours in the US Army during the Vietnam War.
“We fully support the Nation of Israel as our brothers,” Israel 365 donor Donald Schweigart, wrote. “ It is for that reason that I would answer Israel 365’s call for anything that can make the life of Israel’s great forces at least somewhat bearable considering the miserably hot conditions with which they must contend.”
As for Zakai, who has three sons who were combat soldiers, he saw firsthand how much the device can comfort them in debilitating temperatures. Last year, he teamed up with pro-Israel activist Ari Fuld, to help distribute the collars to soldiers across the country.
Tragically, that initiative came to an abrupt halt when Fuld was fatally stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist. The father of four served as a sergeant in an elite paratroopers unit in the IDF reserves and also on the Efrat emergency squad. As such, caring for his fellow soldiers was a cause near and dear to his heart. Cool Club and Israel 365 then, decided to pick up where Fuld left off and ensure soldiers get some relief from the scorching weather.
Cool Collars don’t only enhance a person’s comfort. Studies show the hotter one gets the less they’re able to concentrate, focus or react quickly. A recent Harvard Kennedy School study, for example, determined that high school “students scored lower when they had just experienced a hot school year than when they had just experienced a cool school year.”
Now, imagine the stakes are much higher. Instead of sitting in a poorly ventilated schoolroom, you’re outside, M-16 in hand, keenly monitoring your surroundings hoping that disaster won’t strike. As such, a soldier’s need for a mobile cooling device like the Cool Collar is critical.
“The Cool Collar actually supports the body’s thermoregulation system. However, the positioning of the cooling device around the neck is what uniquely creates the perception of the body feeling cool, which in turn assists in cognitive function,” Zakai explained. ”From a medical perspective to the extent you absorb heat from the body, you lower the workload on the body’s thermoregulation system which is typically overworked in outdoor heat, especially while engaged in physical activity.”
As such, Cool Collar is working with Israel365 to distribute 1,000 of the cool collars to soldiers across the country.
Cool Club also initiated a campaign encouraging people visiting Israel, to purchase the Cool Collar (which retails for $30 on their website) and then return it back to the company once they leave the country. Cool Club will then refurbish and customize them before distributing them to IDF soldiers.
The start-up also has some other ambitious projects on the horizon. For one, they’re developing cooling stations that will be positioned in national parks throughout the United States. There, users can charge their Cool Collar in as little as five minutes. Also, it has already sold Cool Collars to Olympic teams competing in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo; and is working to have Cool Collars and Cooling Stations available for the spectators who will need the brave the extreme Tokyo summer heat.
“Righting for freedom is not an easy task, but this cool product makes it easier,” Weisz said.