I spent the past five days (Sunday through Thursday) deep in the Negev Desert with my reserve battalion. The 5 days in the field (yup, that means no showers or clean uniforms) were exhausting, as we spent almost 19+ hours every day awake and drilling during the hot days and chilly nights. However, as usual, there were many laughs and interesting discussions with the 'once a year or maybe more' friends.
A few highlights & thoughts:
* This was the first time since his birth that I spent so much time away from my son. I really missed him (& the wife too obviously!). Quite a testament to the miluimnikim who continually give of their time to serve this country, sacrificing time away from their family.
* On an hour break in the late evening, a few of us lay down on the APC and sang Beatles songs. I kinda liked the sound of She Loves You with a few thick Israeli accents.
* Like in past stints, I found myself talking to a few of the Hesder Golani boys who were heavily involved in Jenin during Operation Defensive Shield. Some of the stories I heard just left me as teary eyed as I was when I first read about these boys some 5 years ago in A Pslam in Jenin. This time however, I spent time talking to Moshe, who had Shmuel Weiss z'l and Avihu Yaakov z'l die in his arms. I asked him, "How do you stay sane when you see these men you care about die in your arms?" He just let out an uncomfortable laugh - that was enough of an answer.
* Due to the allegations against our soldiers during the recent operation in Gaza, quite a lot of us had a big discussion and the following questions we asked each other:
1) Would you just kill innocents while trying to kill an armed terrorist (the innocents, in other words, could be avoided easily)? One person said yes as a joke (no better way to piss off the hippies in our unit!) but everyone said no ... That's over 100 of us.
2) The next question was a far far tougher one ... If one of us & our mates were in danger and one of us had to kill an armed terrorist (ie, you don't fire - someone next to you or you are dead) but in the process kill innocents too, would you hesitate? Everyone said they'd take the shots ... No one said no, not lefties, not hippies, no one.
I think this is the main reason why civilians will die in any confrontation (well, that & fear) in populated areas. This past week definitely reinforced my faith in my army after a period were I was shaken and down due to these accusations.
On another note, I wish everyone a Happy & Kosher Passover, a חג שמח וכשר
בשנה הבאה בירושלים ב"ה