Things every soldier will become familiar with in the Israeli Army:
There are things every Israeli soldier will hear, no matter where you serve. These, are they, and if you readers have anything to add feel free to leave a comment.
1. “I have no strength (for this)”.
2. “Until when?”
3. “How much more?”
4. “Where is everyone?”
5. “Why even start?”
6. Spaz (as in, you are a Spaz)
7. Autist (as in, you are autistic)
8. Pity for the time, (as in, too bad time flew and we couldn’t enjoy this longer) This can be used sadistically about something you wish would end sooner, or be genuinely sad about not getting to do something fun longer.
If you go to Michve Alon, DON’T LOSE ANYTHING. If you lose ANYTHING, you’re going to have a bad week or even month. Most people at Michve who wanted to join a combat unit get discouraged by Michve Alon. The reason is because at Michve there is only basic training level 02 (Jobnik level), which means there isn’t anything to learn other than making a perfect Het formation, a perfect three rows of soldiers, never forgetting your canteen of water anywhere other than on your person, and never losing any item given to you by the base.
Its very little to teach, so everything is watched for to the most minute level. Logically, people think that the combat units will be even worse than this, since they naturally require a greater level of discipline and commitment. But, guess what? In combat units, there are more important things to grill into your subconscious.
Forget your canteen? All that means is that you’ll be thirsty until you have a chance to either drink or get your canteen. My own unit still makes the most disastrous Het, by Michve Alon standards. A Het is like a lower case n, a line makes the base and two parallel lines make the sides. The sides should have an equal number of soldiers, and the base should always have more soldiers than the sides.
I like to joke all the time about how there’s 300 people on one side, and four people on the other. The commanders like to use this as evidence of retardation on our part, but at the end of the day they have more to do with us than drill us on something like this.
Don’t get me wrong, a combat unit is tough. But all the things you thought were hard at Michve, they are easy in a Combat unit. It’s the combat stuff that’s meant to be hard.
Remember this, everything passes. I remember when I first learned this little tidbit. It was during the tryout for the Paratroopers. We were holding very have sandbags over our head for stretches of time. After doing this a bunch of times, the instructors asked if anyone would like to quit now. A number of people quit, and sat down next to the rest of us. The tryout was over for them. They looked at us, in depression. We continued, I glanced a look at them and thought “No way am I going to look sad on the side. Even if this kills me.
And you know what? A few minutes later, we finished with it. The ones that quit were taken away. And the rest of us, moved on to the other things. Throughout basic training, and advanced training, the most physically crushing things all have a time limit. They hit us like waves from the sea against the rocks and sands of our own bodies, and have nothing left to do but return back to the sea from whence they came. Everything passes. Before you know it, its all over.
The army isn’t logical. Or, at least, one hopes they use a logic that simply isn’t known to you. Get used to getting screwed. Without lubrication. Your life belongs to them now. So, run, jump, shoot, be on time, request things, but at the end of the day expect only the worst. You’ll either be pleasantly surprised, or get exactly what you expected. That’s my attitude.
Sound depressing? Sound like a story of low self-esteem? How much you have still to learn.
Women aren’t impressed by soldiers. They are surrounded by soldiers. They might find your rifle interesting, since it means you’re a combat soldier with training up the whazoo and a responsibility to kill bad guys. But you know what? If you carry a rifle, it means you’re usually on base a month at a time, and never get to see any lucky girl that found you cute enough to date. By the time you come home, she’s done waiting, and has already moved on to that cute jobnik next door. Why not? He comes home every day after 5pm.
Never lie. Never ever lie. Not to your commanders. Not to your fellow soldiers. If you lie, even once, and are caught…you lost the trust of those you lied to. Now imagine a firefight situation, and the people around you don’t trust you.
There is nothing worse than losing the trust of one’s commander. You need your commander for every basic thing. And if he or she doesn’t trust you, your word that you NEED something becomes just another possible lie to them.
Every new recruit starts out thinking “I want to be a commander”. Well, just know, before you even get a chance to be a commander, you’ll go through the worst 7 months you could imagine. 10 if you count Michve Alon. At that point, you’ll only want to finish your service in one piece with whatever strength you have left. If you have any left. Plenty of people drop out in this time.
But remember, it all passes.
Be vocal. If you want to be noticed, say something. Never hold back. Israelis will never hold back, even over the stupidest things. And you know what? The commanders will respect that, every time. It’ll never happen that they’ll thing “This guy is being a woman.” You, the American or foreign volunteer, all gung ho and not expecting much, will think they are being a woman. But the commanders wont. So get what you want out of a situation. Don’t be shy.
More importantly, what I mean is, be vocal at all the group talks. If you’re vocal there, you’ll get rewarded for it, many many months later.
Everything is a test. Your commanders will ask you to do things, from time to time, just to see if you are competent enough to do them. Your commanders will ask you for favors, like count the guys from your unit on a bus. The commanders already know who is on the bus and who isn’t. They just want to see how you do with a task.
I could go on and on, but I guess some things are best left to be learned.
Good Luck, New Guy.
This is for you, you wont be allowed to say it for a while: