Saturday, 2 October 2010


So today is the start of a new adventure in the army; it is one that I am both scared and excited for and that I'm sure will give me an unforgettable experience, from which I will one day look back as the most active part of my service. Today is the start of 'kav' Gaza!!!

My friends visiting me on base, last Shabbat. That's how I look on base; rough uniform, glasses and baseball cap!!!

First I need to explain what 'kav' is. 'Kav' (literally translated as line) is the act of guarding Israel's broders on a "close-up and personal" level by Israel's fighting units. Throughout Israel there are different 'kav's' that are constantly being secured by the IDF; from the borders with Lebanon and Syria in the north to Hebron and Ramallah in the West Bank. The 'kav's' all have their own dangers, like in Hebron, where a lot of arrests and demonstration dispersions are taken place. However, they can also bit quiet, thankfully, like with the Syrian border, where one can may stay for six months without one major incident happening. One 'kav', though, is very rarely quiet and generally agreed to be the most dangerous of all Israel's borders, that of Gaza. From what I understand so far, 'kav' Gaza involves a lot patrolling on the actual border itself, where meetings between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian terrorists are not entirely rare. From today, I will know how the 'kav' works; the details of the tactics used by Hamas to endanger us and how Israel counteracts this. It is obviously a very dangerous place to be in, I mean it's the same Gaza that you hear baout on television, yet, the actions the IDF take, do not put us soldiers in situations where we are on our own or something like that. So as much as you may be worried for my safety, I'm sure eveything will be ok and, although there may be "hot" incidents, I will be fine.
Standing at the 'tekes sof maslool' this week. I'm on the right side.

'Kav' works on a rotation and it just so happens that tzanchanim are now in Gaza for the next six months, with my battalion, 101, in northern Gaza. Regarding future blogs, I will try and update you with everything I'm doing but I will absolutely keep secret anything that needs to be kept secret! A terrible aspect of 'kav' is how much I am going be to going home. Due to a number of different reasons, we will be on a schedule of 17:4, that's seventeen days on base (practically three weeks) and then four days at home. Although 4 days at home is lovely, 17:4 is pretty awful, especially since in 'kav' there can be 16:5, 21:7 and, best of all, 11:3. This means that I'm going to be coming back to my kibbutz only once every three weekends, and, listen to this atrocious calcualtion, for the next six months of 'kav', I will be home only 9 times!!! I think that epitomizes the mentally difficult aspect of the army; not being home for long periods of time is something people often look past when considering how hard the army can be. It's going to be a major challenge for me to survive for three weeks at a time without internet, that means no facebook, no emails, no blog and no Spurs! I am seriously considering getting a new phone that has internet in order to combat this.
Giving a cheesy grin after getting my new fighter's pin!

Another aspect of 'kav' that will prove to be extremely challenging is just how mentally tough it's going to be in terms of the amount of work we'll have and little sleep we're going to get. My platoon is now the youngest and most inexperienced in the company, meaning all the duties will be piled on us; that's kitchen, cleaning and schlapping duties. These duties will be done in the time when we are not guarding or patrolling, i.e. in our resting time. Since we are the youngest, sleep is going to be scarce and the "oldies" in the company are going to take advatage of us. That's just how it works in the army; the young ones do all the work, since the old ones have been in the army longer, it's a cycle that has been going on for years and can be seen everywhere in society e.g. in schools. The next six months are unquestionably going to be the hardest of my service up until now, not physically speaking (in fact I will probably get fatter as the food is good and we'll be doing very little exercis) but through the combinations of hard work, dangerous mission, little sleep and long periods of time in the army without comng home. The danger is something not to be overlooken, in fact, we have already been briefed on "procedure 112" (don't worry nothing top secret), which involves us keeping a magazine loaded (but not cocked) in our gun at all times and having two live grenades in our vest at all times!!!

The last time my old platoon will be together, smiling at the end of the ceremony.

That's all there is to talk about now, but I'm sure by the next time I write a blog, I'll have interesting stories and things to tell you. I've had a really amazing few days here on the kibbutz with my friends; going out to eat, partying it, playing football, spending time with my host family and watching Spurs come from behind to win. Despite the whole 17:4 thing, I actually hope to be out next weekend, as we have our garin reunion. So, it may only be a week's worth of stories the next time I write. Keep posted and continue to leave comments as it gives me that extra supprt that I need...

1 comment:

  1. Sam, I have been following your blog for quite some time now. You have inspired me in ways you could never imagine as a fellow zionist. I hope to make aliya and serve in the army in the coming year. Good Luck in Gaza and remember your an inspiration and hero to many.