Pledging for the IDF

Posted: December 25, 2010 in Mikveh Alon
Tags: , , , , , , ,

So after a little over a week of being in the army and having two weekends off (since we started on a Wednesday) I’ve finally begun to get into the groove of how everything works. Bakum ended up being EXACTLY like what everyone told me it would be like. Four shots of who know’s what immunizations that made my arm sore for two days, lots of pictures, X-rays and fingerprints. All the imaging was for in case we get some random part of our body blown off – which is pretty much the exact words they used when I asked what it was for… very comforting. We received ID card’s and dog tags, but obviously only after a bajillion more questions that I’ve already answered numerous times before. Bakum was just a long day of BLAAHHHHH. Beyond all the tedious tasks, I did meet some cool people that day that I still see around and talk to at the base, so the time there wasn’t a complete waste. The next week, starting on Sunday morning, was when everything really started up.

My Hebrew obviously isn’t anywhere near sufficient to be a soldier but it’s growing by leaps and bounds everyday. Knowing that the little area in my brain called the left temporal lobe is terrible at comprehending language I’ve been surprised by how quickly I’m picking up words and sayings. From a young age I’ve always been terrible with language; I couldn’t tell the difference between a “b” and “d” – true story. The schools also told my parents to stop teaching me Swedish because I couldn’t tell the difference between Swedish and English – true story. Knowing this, I still jumped off the high dive into the Israeli Army instead of the US Army. I’m what you’d call a “mefager” in hebrew – a damned retard.

I'm too sexy... I'm too sexy... I'm too sexy for my beret?

Speaking of the US Army – I realize now that I would completely dominate it. Other than my lack of Hebrew skill I’m excelling beyond nearly everyone else at every other aspect of the Army. Our first physical test I maxed out the push ups and sit-ups. I came in 4th in the 2 km run. 76 push ups, 88 sit-ups and about a 9 minute run later I felt like I could do it all over again. Taking apart our M-16 A1 I had no problem taking it apart and reassembling it in under a minute and a half. Clearly I realize I’m tooting my own horn a bit, but for those of you who know me – that’s not something new. The Army has humbled me quiet a bit however, mostly due to my lack of language skills. I need to listen more than speak and I rely more on my skill of understanding than my skill of smack talk. Smack talk is reserved for Adam – my friend, army pal and blog nemesis. Adam if you’re reading this, your blog sucks – come to the dark side.

The M-16 I took apart is an old piece of crap from the Vietnam War that the US basically handed to Israel during the Yom Kippur War. Apparently the US sold them for a buck a piece. Hell I would have bought a couple hundred myself for that price. We’ve had to lug the old thing around the whole past week – you forget it somewhere and you’re screwed. I like my M-16 though, her names ShaNayNay – she’s big and she’s black (meh, I thought it was clever when we were all naming our “neshakeem” aka weapons). Apparently the “onesh” or punishment for forgetting it is automatic shabbat – basically meaning you don’t get the weekend off. Considering next weekend is New Years – I’m holding onto that thing like a fat kid to his cake this week.

man I wish this was an M-16!

ShaNayNay is heavy and a royal pain in the arse to run with but she/it’s also the coolest thing we’ve gotten our gritty hands on so I guess it’s worth it. This coming week we’ll be doing target practice with lasers??? Whatever, I guess I came to the army just to go to a high tech LazerTron. Apparently we’ll be doing live shooting in two weeks though – I’m really looking forwards to that, mostly because I know I’m gonna be awesome at it and it’ll make up for the fact that everyone else in my unit knows more Hebrew than I do.

ma baby girl

Tzevet Tesha – or Unit 9 is my unit. A bunch of freaks, but I love em. Tzevet Tesha is made up of: a couple of Ruski’s that speak barely any English, a Ukrainian kid Demetri who’s speaks English and quite a bit of Hebrew, a chill Venezualan named Josh who speaks English, Spanish and Hebrew, a Brasillian, and a few Americans. I get along with everyone pretty well even though some of them can be complete idiot’s sometimes. I just don’t think they’ve realized they’re in the Army yet. I’ll update on my unit more as I get to know them better. I’m trying to keep an open mind… key word is trying.

“Trying” is the name of the game during training in the IDF, as I’m sure is the same in most other civilized armies in the world as well. They don’t really care if you’re number 1 or not – they’d rather see that you’re motivated and putting your effort into the game. I call it a game because that’s really all that “tironut” or training is. Tironut is glorified pledging all over again.

I pledged a fraternity in college (won’t name which one, but you can probably guess) which didn’t have an “I’m gonna beat the shit out of you” hazing process – but it also wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine either. Eating gross stuff, push ups, sit-ups, wall sits, running, getting yelled at – that sort of harmless stuff. And I say harmless because although I recognize that it technically is hazing I really don’t think it affected me adversely in any way. What I do believe is that it made me a stronger person mentally and physically. It also prepared me for how I’d be treated during the Army.

All day long we get barked at by 20-25 year old women who clearly have some inanimate object stuck far up their asses. EVERYTIME we move somewhere we have to count down from 10 in Hebrew the last 10 seconds of the time we were allotted. Otherwise it’s pushups and running. Or maybe it’s just running for the sake of running. Or maybe it’s pushups because they purposely didn’t give us enough time to get to where we were supposed to be going. I think you can understand where I’m going with this. If you don’t get it, it’s probably because you haven’t pledged or haven’t served in the Army. I won’t say you’re better off, because I know pledging was interesting and the Army sure as hell seems entertaining enough.

More entertaining is what happened this weekend. This weekend I went to another kibbutz with one the soldiers from my kibbutz called Maagen Michael which is supposed to be the nicest in the country. The stories are true. This place was amazing. It’s made all of it’s money off of some plastic factory that makes toilet parts – random. Whatever they do, they do it right. They’re a 10 minute walk from the beach, there are crazy exotic plants growing everywhere and the food is FANTASTIC. Best thing is, if you live there – you don’t pay for didily squat, it’s a kibbutz. Long story short Elan (my friend) and I passed out cold before we went to the party were were supposed to go to there. We slept around 14 hours – I really needed it. Shit happens, oh well. I met some more cool people though and Josh from my Tzevet lives there so I got to meet up with him. I met a Jewish, Swedish girl who just made aliyah and speaks Hebrew… WTF? For friends of mine, you know It was like seeing myself but in hot girl form. All in all, a relaxing interesting weekend even though I missed out on a party – there’s always next weekend that’s already in the planning…

Maagen Michael

I have to wake up in about 5 hours to get back to the Army tomorrow so I’m gonna cut this entry a little short. I have some other things written down that I had wanted to write about but I guess they’ll either just have to go on Facebook or wait till next weekend. I created a Flickr page for my phone pictures so check that out in the meanwhile (there’s only a few for now). Sorry guys I know how much you want to read about my awesome 19 hour pledge fests, but I have another one to prepare for tomorrow so it’ll have to wait.

L’hetraot” (See you later)
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Comments
  1. Jonnie Dale says:

    Maagen Michael sounds awesome as does Jewish Swedish girl, tell more!

  2. Edward says:

    Hey, I love this blog post man!
    I accidentally came across your blog on a google search for a youtube video: “Israel Defense Forces: I’m With You” (it is on youtube, i think you’d very much enjoy it)
    [ Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNjAUSFDPrk ]

    I gotta give you a big Kol Ha KAVOD for joining the Israeli Army:
    If I were a bit younger, bro – I would have joined it… (i’m 28yrs old – I dont know if I’d qualify, even as a non-Jew)

    Just thought of letting you know I love this post and I wish you only success and much courage in serving your people… It isn’t easy being a soldier, but I, we both know – It is something that must be done and it is all in the prespective you have in serving your people, your land and – above all- that you are serving God, as one of His Warriors.

    Keep the faith , bro and you all are the BEST !

    Lehit and Shalom,

    God bless,

    Edward
    ( I’m on facebook, feel free to add me on there if you’d like: Edward F. Villa )

    • Thanks so much! I’ve been trying to keep as up-to-date as possible with my blogs but it’s getting harder and harder.

      I’ll be on base for 2 weeks now but then I have off for a whole week!

      I’ll definitely check out the video when I have another few minutes to spare, someone posted my link there? I’m amazed so many people have found out about my blog!

      Thanks again!

      P.s. You don’t have to be in the IDF to help out! There’s tons of things you can do, you just gotta look and want to help 🙂

      • Hey, not a problem!
        What is your name or nick? Sorry, I feel totally disrespectful not knowing at least your nick !

        The video I sent you above is a short , upbeat music video tribute I put together in support of the soldiers … ( I was searching for any blogs that linked or posted it up on google search… Some of my video work and writing has been posted up on Jewish/Israeli blogs before)
        When i was searching for the video, your blog came up as a top search result and me knowing a little bit of what a lone soldier is, I had to click away!

        Yeah bro, I know you don’t have to be in the IDF to help out…. It is just with me: Wish I were there so badly at times !
        I’ll just say: Although I am not in the IDF technically, in the heart and soul – That is where I am..
        Let’s just say, ” You Can’t Fulfill Your Dream Unless You Dare Risk it All” – A quote (you already probably know from who) I still need to truly realize and take completely to heart to realize my full potential in life. Let’s just say Michael holds a special place deep inside (among so many other modern day Jewish heroes)

        Here, checkout the following post on my media blog:
        http://jewishmiracles.insightonthenews.net/?p=126

        I have my own blog , video (youtube) site and facebook where I post up lots of Jewish, Israeli related material and video ‘activism’ work which is how I show my unwavering support for Israel and The Jewish People’s cause.

        I”ll just say – Although I haven’t even been to Israel – yet – and never served in the Israeli army – I sure do feel like a soldier’s soldier deep inside bro and by what I do to put out the good word about Israel – at least virtually- shows my commitment and dedication to standing with Israel – For good or for worse – which is what counts in the end.

        Wishing you a good and encouraging upcoming two weeks on base!

        Take care and keep in touch,

        – Eddi

      • hey sorry I never responded, was on base for a 2 week stretch – one of which was in the field….

        I liked the video a lot, had some footage I’ve never seen before! The post on the blog is really good too, I’m surprised I haven’t seen some of those video’s before…

        You’re doing a great job what you’re doing, keep up the good work! Try to make it to Israel when you can, it will be an amazing experience for you (you might not go back!)

        Sorry I gotta run, about to go out to a movie with my g/f. gonna try to update the blog sometime this week while I’m off – there’s so much I’ve done! hard to keep track!

        thanks again,
        The Lone Soldier

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