Today was IDF day and the cohort got a taste of the life of a soldier. First thing this morning, we went to Yad Lebanim, which is a memorial center for all of the fallen soldiers of Karmiel Misgav. The father of one of these soldiers was generous enough to come speak to us and share the tragic story of his son.
Next, we headed to the base where Raz's father works (Raz is one of the Israeli fellows). We got an extensive tour of the base and then ate lunch in the base dining hall with the soldiers. This part of the day was valuable in my opinion because it gave the Americans a glimpse into the process of joining the IDF, how jobs in the IDF are designated, daily routines and responsibilities of soldiers, and a general feel for life as a "chiel".
Finally, we drove to a park where retired soldiers ran an army simulation for 3 hours; it was similar to the basic training that our Israeli counterparts did earlier this year. This was a small taste of what Israelis go through when they join the IDF. It was fun yet challenging, and we all finished feeling sweaty and accomplished. I think that the main takeaway from today is the IDF's core value of camaraderie. Challenging situations forge bonds between soldiers in specific divisions, but also create a sense of unity among all Israelis who have served.
- Sigalle Bahary