Friday, 19 February 2010


Am finally home in Ortal after a long and, as per usual, tough 2 weeks in the army (the longest time that I've spent in the army so far without a weekend off!). It was a busy period and I'm going to try and write two blogs, in order to tell you all about the things I got up to in the last couple of weeks.

My stint in the army started with another 'Yom Tarbut' (culture day) to Jerusalem, this time we visited the kotel, city of David and the Jewish quarter within the Old City. It was the first time that I had properly been to the kotel with my uniform and gun, and it certainly was an emotional experience. I felt so proud standing there, at the most important place in the world to Jewish people, knowing that I was saying the Shema while wearing the uniform of the IDF and holding my own gun; both of which are the symbols of the defense of Jews in Israel. Also, I found it extremely weird how all sorts of tourists were coming up to me and my friends trying to take pictures with and of us; just to think how less than a year ago it was me nudging my mum to take pictures of Israeli soldiers because I was too scared to ask them myself.

Last week in the army was advanced shooting, which for me meant advanced sharpshooting, it was a busy week, each day being spent from morning until night in the shooting ranges. One funny incident happened in particular, which only helped to enhance my reputation amongst the commanders as that funny kid from England with the terrible Hebrew accent. There was one excersize where the commander would shout different commands and if it applied to you then you needed to be ready to shoot, for example, "All here who have a sister, shoot!". Anyway, he once said "All those who would let there friends close Shabbat so they could leave, shoot" (i.e. in the army) and, of course, I was the only one who shot. So all the commanders started screaming "who's that terrible friend who just shot?". So I innocently said how all my friends are in university and that I doesn't really count for me. I didn't think it was that funny but they seemed to find it hilarious and one started to squeeze my head in like a loving sort of way! There have been a few moments like that, moments where I clearly stand out from the rest of my platoon, like last week when I counted the press-ups after a 'Madas' (P.E.), in French! Imagine it, all the soldiers in my battalion turning their heads to see what was this crazy thing going on, me, listing my class' press-up count in a very over-exaggerated french accent. Another example of this, is how my initials 'S.S.' are on every single piece of army equipment that I have in huge black markered letters. This obviously includes my gun-strap, and it seems each day someone comes up to me and accuses me of working for the Gestapo.

Weird to think how I'm now part of this:

A couple of people have warned me now that what I have been writing about on this blog is revealing army secrets and that I should be careful. I'm not disagreeing with anyone who thinks that but I think everyone should know a couple of things. Firstly, everything that I am doing at the moment is at the bottom level of IDF security (1 out of 4 levels) and is at a level, where the information is allowed to be told to parents and friends. Secondly, I have not done anything yet which is secretive or will give anything away to Israel's enemies, I doubt that Hamas, if they are reading my blog (!) would gain information from my complaining and winging. Finally, and most importantly, the army know about my blog and if I have written something beyond protocol they would have obviously removed it, like that time when we learnt about the secret *%£*%$", just kidding.

The three
'defenders' of Hebron!

Talking of army secrets I have now actually done something which can't be fully told about on the blog. I am able to say how last weekend I was closed, but instead of being on the base, we were situated in Hebron to assist with guarding there. Naturally, being soldiers who have still not even finished basic training, we weren't doing anything too dangerous, but we were there in Hebron nonetheless helping to guard the area. Due to security (how cool does that sound!!!), I can't say where I was specifically but I can tell you how I was at a guard point, with my commander and two other guiys from my class, which overlooked a certain area. The four of us were stationed at this place and did hours of 3:6 (that's 3 hours of guarding, 6 hours of resting) i.e. our commader left us to do the guarding!! When I say guarding it isn't as exciting as it sounds, it's extremely boring; standing by the radio, watching the view for something suspicious and occassionally walking around the roof that we were on. There were some inspiring moments of the weekend though...

Me and my friend attempting the
"Tinactic" scene as he put it, over the roof in Hebron.

1) Having Friday night dinner (along with candles and kiddush) on the roof, overlooking the lights of the Hebron skyline.

2) Hearing my parents bless me over the phone, while getting ready to stand guard.

3) During my 11pm-2am guard on Friday night, having to open the gate to let in the army truck with the newspapers for the next day, okay so that one wasn't so inspiring.

4) Best of all, receiving an order from the radio to watch over some Jews who were walking home from shul on Saturday morning.

Receving orders on the radio.

It was a hard weekend; mainly because we hardly slept, rested, ate or took off our uniform, so it didn't feel like a weekend at all. However, it was an interesting experience to be there and physically feel part of the protection for the Jewish inhabitants there. We were back on base by Saturday night and ready to start the new week the next morning, which, as I will explain in the next blog, was one hell of a week...

1 comment:

  1. Sam
    We are a group of mad tottenham supporters, who have lived in jerusalem for a few decades, from the UK (my parents actually belong to Bushey Schul) who regularly get together to view matches (on TV or internet)motzei shabat or during the week. So if you ever have a long weekend off (or a regilah) and fancy spending a shabat or some time in Jerusalem (when a game is on) you are gary: