Posts Tagged ‘Machlakah’

I know I haven’t posted a full blog update since two weekends ago, but let’s be serious here, I work on about 5 hours of sleep a night. I need to catch up on sleep during the weekends, not write a blog. That being said, If you haven’t already, become a fan on Facebook – DO IT! There are much more frequent updates there since I can send updates from my phone during the week! Also, check out photo’s from throughout the week at my Flickr Page, it’s updated every time I get some wifi access.

I’m going to try to quickly summarize last week since it wasn’t all that much different from the first week with a few big exceptions. I got switched to a different tzevet (unit) at the beginning of the week. I felt terrible about it at first and was in a REALLY bad mood the first couple days. I’m still not happy about it but I’m dealing with it – mainly because I’ve already argued a lot with the higher ups and don’t think they’ll switch me back. assholes.

I wouldn’t have minded the switch so much if they had switched me to another good unit. The unit they switched me to though has a horrible mefakedit (commander) and some of the guys are pure jackasses. One of the Russian’s in the tzevet is currently in jail for the week because he doesn’t listen to ANYTHING that they tell him. He clearly doesn’t want to be there, and he makes it very known. Another of the children (and that’s what he is, a child) in the group is named Tal. I would hate Tal even more than Euvgeny (the Russian) but he’s just too dumb to know any better. He clearly either has something wrong with him or he was just dropped on his head as a baby a few too many times…

I remember writing in a previous post that my original tzevet (tzevet tesha) wasn’t that great, but they seem like pure gold compared to this one. I still haven’t fully decided whether to join in the buffoonery or just to be better than them – right now I’m doing a little of both. I’ve sorta joined the ranks of two other kids in Tzevet Chamesh (unit 5), Yaakov and David.

David and Yaakov both know a bit more Hebrew than I do and I don’t understand why they’re in this unit either. We’ve come to the conclusion that they placed us here to “babysit” the others (my adopted dad suggested the same). We yell at the others to do things so that we don’t get in trouble. If one person is late, we’re all doing push-ups. As much as I like exercise, I really don’t appreciate being punished for what someone else screwed up. I’ve begun to drag Tal around, sometimes physically pulling and pushing. He really is just a dumb oaf, he acts like he’s 4, so I treat him as such.

The one high point of the week was when we had “sport time”. We had some competitions with the other Tzevet’s in our Machlakah (platoon?). Let’s just say that we completely dominated the opposition. We ran faster, did better push ups and to put it quite frankly: we kicked their asses. I guess the hard work pays off a little bit. Our mefakedit was actually smiling (we’ve been keeping track of how many times we get her to smile – currently at 37 [that’s for 3 weeks 24/5]).

Enough of that week. It wasn’t worth a whole blog post anyways – no wonder why I didn’t write about it. Onto this week which was a whole lot more interesting!

The first day at Mikveh Alon was a lot like any other, run here, run there, do pushups because we messed something up, eat for 10 minutes somewhere in between. The day after that we left for the “shetach” (outdoors). After checking on my cellphone (thanks google maps!), I found out that we were right next to the Golani Brigade‘s base. It looked like we were in the middle of no where. And we really were. We set up “oileem” (tents) and put all our stuff inside them. We learned a lot about our guns again and finally had time to eat. Our tzevet got handed a small, sealed cardboard box and a loaf of bread. Hmmm, what could be inside this box?!?!

The campsite

Inside that box is what we’d be eating for three meals a day for two and a half days straight. Three cans of tuna, a can of beans, a can of corn, a can of pineapple, a few ketchup and mustard packets and a little bar of halava. YUM! Let’s just say I had the most disgusting farts of my life for two and a half days. gross! It wasn’t great food, but it was filling – and I’m sure that’s what it’s supposed to be. Cheap, nutritional and filling: who care’s about taste?!?!

Our stomach’s all full of this disgusting concoction we headed over to the shooting range. The first time we shot all we did was shoot at a target meant to help us zero (calibrate) our guns. Mine was a bit down and to the left (that’s what she said) and so some guy helped me to reset it even though I already knew how… pretty self explanatory for someone with an above 5th grade education.

After zeroing my gun, let’s just keep it simple and say I’d make a great hitman. Every time I shot I was within a 3 cm spread from 25 yards, and about 4 cm from 50 yards, and that’s with a plain iron sight – no scopes here. All day long we ran around and waited to shoot again. We shot a lot while in the shetach, usually only 5 rounds at a time, but we got to go around 10 times or so. It was a great introduction to the gun. I think I’ve gotten a little addicted to the smell of gunpowder in the air.

Each bullet that exits the barrel you get a little whiff of gunpowder, and I can say from experience that it definitely stimulates that killer instinct within. A slight burning sensation in your nostrils, it’s like injecting a shot of espresso into your veins. Shot after shot, I re-aimed and fired – only after breathing out all of the air in my lungs to stabilize my body. Bullet after bullet hit the target – even though I couldn’t see the bullet holes (my sight isn’t anywhere near perfect) I knew they all were grouped together.

Sharpshooter?

We shot at night as well learning how to use just the end sight and the handle of the gun to aim instead of aiming through the main sight. It’s much less accurate when shooting like this, but it’s impossible to aim the same way as you do during the day due to the lack of light. Even with shooting like this I still managed to hit the target every time – not a nice grouping, but it would get the job done.

After sleeping in our tent for the night packed in like sardines since we had to squish three of us into our tent (there weren’t enough tents for everyone to have two-to-a-tent) we arose to a wet morning. It had rained a bit, not a crazy amount, but enough to get some people’s stuff wet through the tent. Another day of shooting and eating crappy food. It was fun shooting again, we got to shoot from a crouched position and standing instead of just a prone position. Good stuff. Towards the end of the day everyone was getting worried because of the ominous clouds gathering overhead. It was gonna be a storm… and a big one. As our mefakedit’s were wasting time as usual I was getting impatient and telling her we had to run. Sure enough, on the way back from getting our stuff out of the tents it started DOWN-POURING. It was like standing under a waterfall. I sprinted as fast as I could to cover and other people slowly started showing up soaking wet. I was happy I had sprinted as fast as I could since I wasn’t as wet as a lot of people.

it got a little wet...

I wasn’t very happy with the commanders and I let it be known, they had us stacking our wet stuff together instead of hanging it. They had us lining up in formations instead of separating our dry and wet clothes. The Israeli’s don’t get much rain so I guess I can’t blame them for not knowing how to handle it… Eventually the MM (head of the platoon) came and yelled at us and basically called us little girls. Either way, they knew they had screwed up and took us to the Golani Brigade’s base to sleep there for the night. We all slept in the gymnasium.

Golani Brigade's Gym

The next day everything was absolutely soaked. We took down our tents and for the rest of the day we sat around cleaning and reassembling our guns. I’m sure we were supposed to be doing something else if not for the rain because we’ve already learned how to take apart our guns a couple times. Nevertheless, it was just more practice.

1 1/2 minutes to take apart and reassemble - I'm a beast I know.

Finally we got on a bus to head back to base which everyone fell asleep for the whole hour and a half ride. Upon our return I had the pleasure of experiencing some of the thickest fog I’ve ever seen, it was quite surreal. The base didn’t seem like the same place, it was as if we had entered into a fairy tale landscape. Everything with it’s halo’s of light around it and soft tones created a magical view.

Thursday morning we found out that we would be heading home that afternoon! Great news considering we also would be having off Sunday. A real full weekend off!!! We did the same as normal the rest of the day other than one good speech that our MM gave us. We went over basic protocol’s of dealing with a suspected terrorist/enemy. As I’ve said repeatedly, Israel is the friendliest of armies in the world until you get on their bad side. They really give you the benefit of the doubt. We learned that while dealing with someone while on guard duty, you must follow this protocol:

  1. Tell them to stop in both hebrew and arabic
  2. if they don’t stop you say three times in hebrew and arabic “STOP STOP STOP, OR I WILL SHOOT”
  3. If they still don’t stop, you cock your gun twice without a magazine in place which makes a loud distinctive clicking noise.
  4. if after this they still don’t stop, you fire one round into the air.
  5. after this you shoot them in the leg. seriously,  if you’ve been given that many chances you deserve to be shot.

The only time when it’s valid to shoot them before telling them to stop is if they have a weapon. Gun or Knife and they’re running towards you, you shoot them in the leg. If they’re still aiming a gun at you while they’re down, that’s the only time you’re allowed to shoot-to-kill. Hopefully this will dispel any crazy stories that people have of soldiers just wildly shooting.

On a softer note, I’ve had two great nights of sleep and tonight I’ll be heading into Haifa to hang out with a girl I met a couple weeks ago. Tomorrow (Sunday) I’m going to Tel Aviv to buy some things and get my bank card. I’ll also visit the Hayarkon 48, the hostel I stayed at before the army to see the people I know there.

Till next time – peace out homeslices.

p.s. there won’t be a blog update next weekend since we’re not getting off… two weeks on base ugh. Keep updated through Facebook!

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