Friday, August 5, 2011

general recap, week 2

we went to the shooting range this week, it was pretty scary but actually kind of fun too? I did pretty well during the day, twice my farthest shot from the target dot in the center was 5cm which is pretty decent for my first time. once i shot at the wrong target (hey, what do you want, i confused the words "up" and "down"). I shot at the bottom target and so did the girl after me so i'm not sure how many out of 5 i got because you couldn't tell who shot what. my commander told us both 3/5 but i think i did better, of course ;). at night i got 5/5.

i got to go back first from the shooting range (we were there allll day, early morning until like 11pm, with two other girls in my group and my commander. we got our stuff ready and had our free hour first because one of the three of us had to guard outside the base in the am. turns out i was the lucky winner so i got to wake up 3 hours earlier than everyone and guard at the "trempiato" with my commander. before I went out i had to have a little test during which i learned what to do if someone suspicious was approaching. I didn't realize that no one would actually come from 730am-930am but it was still scary to learn that i first have to say something in arabic, then twice in hebrew, then if they continue to come forward i have to shoot two bullets in the air and if they continue then shoot at their legs and if they continue then, yea, you get it. scary stuff...good thing no one came. Also had to make sure that no soldiers were hitchhiking from the bus stop because it's illegal. might sound silly to you but it's quite typical to hitchhike here. besides that i basically just bonded with my commander for two hours, she's adorable i love her.

let's see...we learned about all the different ranks and positions in the military and how you can tell by someone's uniform, we learned some CPR and what to do in case of an explosion or attack, we learned how to use the radio communication thingy called mk-77 and a chemical mask called m-15, we learned about honor and personal example and personal vs system needs/wants/desires, etc. I like the latter type discussions about things such as...your commander tells you to do something but you don't personally agree with it, what do you do. the answer is, of course, that you have to do it anyway, but do you understand why you have to do it and such. One thing we brought up was when the IDF had to evacuate Jews from their houses in the territories and how hard that must have been, Jews taking Jews from their houses. One of the girls in my platoon lives in a settlement and she was saying she has no idea what she would do if she were put in that situation, to evacuate her family, friends, neighbors, community (in any two-state type solution situation, that is). It's easy to SAY that for the greater good of the state and the Jewish people as a whole you have to do it but how would I feel if I actually had to do it? I can only imagine. Sidenote: no worries, I wouldn't be the one doing it.

I took a 2 hours-ish Hebrew test this week to assess my Hebrew level and see what I need to receive from the army in terms of extra help, ulpan (UGH), etc. The test was pretty easy for me except for the last page where the text was pretty difficult. It brought me back to ulpan days with grammar, verb conjugations, texts and questions, etc. At least I had ample practice in that so I feel I was pretty prepared. I apologize in advance, Hebrew teachers, that I forgot or mixed up some of my linking words like despite, therefore, in spite of, as a result of, etc. sorry Sylvia and Malka!

Thursday morning was the first time I started to get frustrated with the girls that don't do anything and expect that things are just going to get done anyway. I usually just do it because it's much easier to just do it myself then wait for other girls to do it, and then they dont, and then we get yelled at, and then i end up doing it anyway. I still just do it myself but I actually spoke up about it a little last week that it's annoying that girls just think someone else is going to take care of it for them...oh 18 year olds.

I'll end with another time last week when I really felt the difference in age. We were sitting in a small group talking about whether or not we believe that every job in the army is important, small or large, and whether or not we believe in compulsory army service and such. Some of the girls, just out of high school, obviously don't think that they should have to do the army and feel like it's a waste of time. I tried to interject my opinion in the best Hebrew that I could, a few times. My perspective was that Israel is a very small country and if you believe in it's existence and you want it to continue to be here in the future then you have to believe in the existence of a strong army, since without the military Israel wouldn't be here. Since it's such a small country I understand compulsory service because without everyone being drafted the military would be too small to be strong. If at 16/17/18 everyone was given the CHOICE to join, I'm afraid, at least at first, that a lot of people wouldn't join, especially girls not going into fighter positions. Clearly that wouldn't be good for the country. I added in that many Israeli's take for granted the existence of a Jewish state, and living in one, and they they don't know what it's like to live in a place where they are not surrounded like people who believe what they believe or practice what they practice or celebrate what they celebrate. The girls continued to say that if they had a job that they wanted to do it would be different but some of them have no interest in doing what their job is going to be. I continued on trying to say something like...I've done a lot of things in my life that I didn't want to do or didn't see how it would help me or be important to me in my future, only to find out at the end, or a year or two later how it helped me to be a better person or helped me in another aspect of my life. Thankfully my commander agreed with me even though I imagine many of the 18 year olds couldn't really see how that can be.

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