July 20, 2012

attack-academy asked: Thank you for replying so quickly that advice was very useful. Nahal is a great unit and an ideal one, my only issue is that I will likely get a 72-80 medical number so im looking at units in that range. I have heard that even with a lower number it is possible to sign up for infantry. I assume you must almost be finished with your advanced training, what have you been up to at this point? You mention it is similar to the other infantry units? Also, do you know anything about Shirion?

No problem, I’m always checking my email. I finished training some time ago, the whole training period is about 7-8 months give or take, depending on the unit. My unit has been patrolling the egyptian border near Eilat. Complete hellhole. At the end of training all infantry units go up to a “line” and guard and patrol that area. Some go to the Hebron area, others to the Syrian or Lebanese or Egytian borders, others to different parts of the West Bank. They all basically do the same thing, hours of guard duty, and patrols in vehicles or on foot. It’s a lot of downtime though. Once training is over there is far less discipline in the unit though, commanders and soldiers basically talk to each other as equals. 

As for units that take lower profiles, there is my unit, the Caracal, Shiryon, Border Police, anti-aircraft and artillery as far as I know. I have a good friend in Shiryon. He’s had a rough experience, but then again so has everyone. Their advanced training is interesting and different, as it’s entirely centered around the tank. They also do more Krav Maga than other combat units, which is a plus. They do close a lot, which means spend a lot of time away from home. Definitely consider it, it’s an interesting and challenging job. 

I also thought about artillery. They do some different type of jobs as well. They work with self-powered artillery, MLRS, and  unmanned drones. Also Nun-Mem, or anti-aircraft is cool. If you want to work with advanced anti-missile systems like Iron Dome and the Patriot or stinger missiles, as well as be in the Air Force it’s a good unit. 

July 19, 2012

attack-academy asked: Hello, my name is Zac from california. Im in the process of joining the idf through mahal as well, drafting august 26th. Im at that point where im spending a lot of time researching units and i came across your blog. How do you like the unit your in? It seems quite interesting. Any info or advice regarding the search and rescue unit, mahal, or the idf will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Hey Zac, glad to hear you’re joining as well. It’s gonna be the hardest year and 2 months of your life. To start, I was not happy in the search and rescue unit. This unit draws a lot of lone soldiers with the promise of saving lives and doing rescue operations around the world, but that kind of stuff is actually reserved for officers and reservists. In the end, it’s a combat unit like any other, just with superfluous search and rescue training and less respect than other combat units. There are good officers though, but the conditions are pretty shitty. 

If I could recommend a unit to join, it would be the Nahal. They have a good reputation, a lot of lone soldiers (which means understanding for lone soldiers’ unique issues as well as a lot of friends) and do real combat training.  

You’re gonna regret your decision a lot during basic and advanced training, but things definitely get better afterwards. Plus regardless of which unit you;re in, Israelis love and respect you for just being a lone soldier. Like I said, it will be hard, lonely but probably the most meaningful experience of your life. At the least you’ll have good stories to tell your friends back home about all the shit the army puts you through. 

April 28, 2012
"‘When my father was a little boy in Poland, the streets of Europe were covered with graffiti, “Jews, go back to Palestine,” or sometimes worse: “Dirty Yids, piss off to Palestine.” When my father revisited Europe fifty years later, the walls were covered with new graffiti, “Jews, get out of Palestine.”’"

-  Israeli author Amos Oz (via girlfromdistrict2)

(Source: fareynikteorganizatsye, via simplyisrael)

April 13, 2012

(Source: ronsworschach)

March 6, 2012
padbury:


“And suddenly, I looked at the bull. He had this innocence that all animals have in their eyes, and he looked at me with this pleading. It was like a cry for justice, deep down inside of me. I describe it as being like a prayer - because if one confesses, it is hoped, that one is forgiven. I felt like the worst shit on earth.”This photo shows the collapse of Torrero Alvaro Munera, as he realized in the middle of the his last fight… the injustice to the animal. From that day forward he became an opponent of bullfights.

padbury:

“And suddenly, I looked at the bull. He had this innocence that all animals have in their eyes, and he looked at me with this pleading. It was like a cry for justice, deep down inside of me. I describe it as being like a prayer - because if one confesses, it is hoped, that one is forgiven. I felt like the worst shit on earth.”

This photo shows the collapse of Torrero Alvaro Munera, as he realized in the middle of the his last fight… the injustice to the animal. From that day forward he became an opponent of bullfights.


February 12, 2012
Ya boy finished basic training. It was 2 and a half months of hell, but it’s finally done. Now I’m moving on to advanced training, which will include search and rescue, and nuclear biological and chemical response. 
I’m excited to move on, because basic is the hardest part of military service. It’s designed to break your independent thinking and encourage you to work as part of a group. The harsh physical and mental conditions, like bitter cold, sleeping in tents, spending weeks at a time out in the field, being timed for every little task, disproportionate punishments for the smallest fuck-ups, and spending every waking hour with 18 year old Israelis caused me to nearly break down several times. The lack of free time is probably the hardest part. This lack of time lead to me not blogging for this whole period. All I wanted to whenever I had a weekend at home was sleep, eat and get drunk. In short, forget I was in the army. I have a bit of a break now, and I plan on asking for Tash 2, which is a special allowance for soldiers to go home every Thursday if they have issues at home. If I can get that, it will make my life a whole lot easier. 
I’m optimistic about the next several months; this is supposed to be some challenging and interesting training. My brain had basically been shut down the last couple of months, so I’ll be happy to start using it again. 

Ya boy finished basic training. It was 2 and a half months of hell, but it’s finally done. Now I’m moving on to advanced training, which will include search and rescue, and nuclear biological and chemical response. 

I’m excited to move on, because basic is the hardest part of military service. It’s designed to break your independent thinking and encourage you to work as part of a group. The harsh physical and mental conditions, like bitter cold, sleeping in tents, spending weeks at a time out in the field, being timed for every little task, disproportionate punishments for the smallest fuck-ups, and spending every waking hour with 18 year old Israelis caused me to nearly break down several times. The lack of free time is probably the hardest part. This lack of time lead to me not blogging for this whole period. All I wanted to whenever I had a weekend at home was sleep, eat and get drunk. In short, forget I was in the army. I have a bit of a break now, and I plan on asking for Tash 2, which is a special allowance for soldiers to go home every Thursday if they have issues at home. If I can get that, it will make my life a whole lot easier. 

I’m optimistic about the next several months; this is supposed to be some challenging and interesting training. My brain had basically been shut down the last couple of months, so I’ll be happy to start using it again. 

6:53pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZJC9DxGIiB1M
  
Filed under: Israel IDF Tironut 
December 4, 2011
Love this town

Love this town

December 2, 2011
טירונות

I finally started my legitimate basic training on Tuesday. I joined the “shachar” battalion of the pikud haoref, Israel’s home front command. Our job is combat search and rescue, which means that we do play both a combat role and a rescue role simultaneously. This job is represented in shachar’s motto, ” נתנהג כמו בני אדם, נילחם כמו אריות , act like human beings, fight like lions״.
This week was week zero, which was absorption of new recruits, lots of paperwork, and introduction to basic discipline. It was easier for me because I already went through this at my pre-training at michve alon. For the new recruits it was much more difficult; a lot of soldiers told me it was the worst week of their lives, and I kept thinking about how much harder it’s going to get.
A nice part of my battalion is that it’s mixed gender. My squad has both girls and boys doing the same training together. It really creates a nicer and more polite atmosphere. When I was training with only guys the conversation generally turned vulgar within a few seconds, because that’s just how guys, especially soldiers, talk to each other. However, at zikkim we kind of check ourselves. A hard part of training is the age and language differences. I often feel like the old man of the battalion, being that nearly everyone else is 18. When I mention that I went to college and have a degree, people stare in amazement, and ask what the hell I’m doing in the IDF.
I’m looking forward to next week, when we receive our weapons (m4) and start shooting. Having a weapon means feeling like a real soldier. I plan on naming mine Mariska, after the actress who plays Detective Olivia Benson on law and order:svu.

November 19, 2011
It’s been a while

I’ve been super busy since I enlisted on October 30th. I woke up at 5 am that day to get to the Bakum, the huge enlistment base near Tel Aviv where every new soldier in the IDF gets processed. It was a long long day that involved: getting an xray and photographs of my teeth for identification in case I’m burned beyond recognition :\ , immunizations, an interview with an army social worker, receiving dog tags and uniforms, giving blood, and getting our first taste of army discipline. After that I went on a bus to Michve Alon, a base up north near Tzefat (Safed) where new immigrants and volunteers like me do a 3 week pre-training course. The goal of the course is to acclimate these new Israelis to army life, which native Israelis have been preparing for since the beginning of high school. 

The course did it’s job, though it was very difficult. It was basically 3 weeks of getting our asses kicked by officers from various branches of the army, including many speciakl forces unit. The army brought these officers in so we could ask them about their units in order to choose where we want to enlist. I spoke to officers from Nahal, Artillery, Armor and Search and Rescue (SAR) to get a better picture of where I want to serve. 

Other parts of the course included learning formations, shooting, running from place to place in impossible amounts of time and getting punished for not completing the task, running and exercise, asking permission for every little thing, carrying a gun on my person 24/7, and meeting many new people. The people I met were the best part by far. A basic army value that was stressed almost every day was Re’ut, which mean camaraderie. We had to learn to trust each other, because soon we would be in life or death situation and you can only survive those situations with people you can rely on. I love the values the army teaches, which include purity of arms, the morality of orders, giving yourself up for the bigger cause, and many more. These values, I believe, have a hugely positive influence on Israeli society. They are the reason a strange will invite you for dinner or to sleep the night if you have nowhere to go. They are the reason Israelis are as straightforward, proud, and patriotic as they are. 

I entered the course determined to be combat infantry in Nahal, but after a couple of weeks I became a bit disillusioned with the idea. The training, discipline, attitudes of officers and my fellow soldiers, conversations with soldiers, and many hours alone on guard duty all contributed to this disillusionment. I realized that the idea of shooting people and general violence doesn’t really appeal to me, and though I want to be a combat soldier, I would rather serve in a way that would help people more than harm them. After a lot of thought I decided to enlist with the SAR, the Pikud HaOref. They do regular combat training, but instead of going on combat operations, they are like national and international first responders in disasters. SAR is first on the scene after rocket attacks, train wrecks, earth quakes and tsunamis. They went to Haiti, Japan, Turkey and many more countries to assist in rescue operations. I’m excited for this Sunday, when I return to Bakum to enlist with SAR and begin my real basic training and service. 

November 13, 2011
Gun lesson: .50 cal, MAG, Negev, m24, m4 with grenade launcher and more

Gun lesson: .50 cal, MAG, Negev, m24, m4 with grenade launcher and more

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