Sunday, November 18th | 10 Kislev 5779

February 21, 2011 9:58 pm

The Lone Soldier Week 10 – Raw and rugged from Israel’s front lines.

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The dark night is the worst part.

We’ve got to get back, and it’s a long way too. Oh, and I forgot to mention, we were on the roughest terrain, ever; rocks and thorn bushes, using torches only allowed by the commanders.  Not joking.  It was insane.  The only thing I could see was the white reflection of the stones.  I couldn’t see any of the countless thorn bushes or anything.  It felt like I was playing a very hard level of some video game and that at any moment I could be ‘out’.  Literally, leaping from rock to rock, getting thorns stuck in the worst places.

But there’s nothing you can do besides trek through.  No obstacles can stop us. We climb barbed wire fences, seriously.  Not to mention the amount of times people fell.  You hurt yourself, you might curse, but then you get up straight away and carry on.

We get back late to find out we would be heading back again at three in the morning, when the operation was to continue.  By this time, I felt as ill as did most of my people.  I tried to get comfy on the stone cold floor of the warehouse; grab a couple hours sleep I so badly needed.  Getting up at three in the morning is always a bummer but that’s what we did.  At least this time we were better equipped.  I had my coat and sweet scope on my M-4, so yeah.

We reach our destination and once again we find ourselves waiting for an ‘attack’.  Meanwhile though, we’re just chilling and havin’ a laugh with our commander.  Whoever said anything about distance between commanders in the army?  I could say I never felt any but there is supposed to be some kind of it.  Now a couple of hours later, and still no attack.

At about ten o’clock in the morning, we hear explosions as the operation finally kicks off.  We hear blanks goin’ off but see nothing.  Suddenly, I see movement as my sights focus on a soldier.  Wait, it’s one of our guys.   I see they are all coming back.  It turns out the shooting took place with the two kitas positioned in front of us and this is what they told us.

The attack was just a bunch of reserves walking along waving their guns in the air saying ‘Oh no you killed us.’  These guys really didn’t give a damn about the operation but not for good reason. Most reserves have already been in the army and dutifully filled their three years of hard work.  And again, these were older, mostly married guys, who just didn’t have the energy for these little training stunts.  It made me laugh thinking how we little newbies had been waking at three in the morning for this ruthless onslaught.

We get back to find out that other machlakas were indeed attacked by ‘oketz’ although their dogs had muzzles.  So, it was understandably disappointing that we didn’t get any part of the action. Now, we head back to the original warehouse we started off at.

One rule in the army is though, we don’t leave anywhere ’til the place is spotlessly clean, so we clean up. If you want anything cleaned, calling the army wouldn’t be a bad idea. We head back to base and then back home, for the first time in three weeks.  It’s also the first time in three weeks I find myself not carrying anything.  It’s the first time in three weeks we can eat normal food again. No more plain tuna, corn and beans.

‘Feels amazing.

Lone Soldier

The Lone Soldier column is a weekly diary of a new recruit to the Israel Defense Forces following his time in service and beyond.

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