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11 August 2012 (Soldiers on Shabbat)

August 11, 2012

As Yuval and I stepped in to our favorite restaurant in the Golan Heights for lunch today, a soldier passed us by pushing a baby cart.

We have only been to this restaurant on Shabbat (Saturdays) and we always see soldiers dining here with their parents, families, significant others, and so on. There are many army bases in this area, which is situated near the border with Syria.


When we sit down, I can’t help asking Yuval.

“Do you think that baby was his?” (He had a few family members with him.)

“Probably.” Yuval answers.

“So I guess men still have to go to the army even if they have children.” (Women don’t have to.)

“Yes. But that guy was a lieutenant colonel. He must be at least 28 years old.”

“How can you tell he’s a lieutenant colonel?”

“By the badge on his shoulder.”


To our right there is another soldier sitting at the bar, his arm draped around a girl.

“How often do you think they get to see each other?” I wonder.

“Maybe once every few weeks?” Yuval guesses.

He also told me the uniforms both soldiers were wearing were the every day bet types that are worn within army bases. They were on break, but still on alert.


I couldn’t help asking my questions because even after living in Israel for over two years now, the army is still a very unknown territory for me. It’s not that I never see soldiers. I actually see them all the time, returning to the kibbutz for the weekend, talking on their cellphones in bus stops, sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes in gas stations. But strangely it’s when I see them in a situation like today, on Shabbat, the day of rest, briefly enjoying a meal with their loved ones, that make them more real somehow. I am reminded that they, along with many other soldiers all over Israel, rarely get to see their families while they risk their lives protecting their country.

On our way to the restaurant we saw a few colorful paragliders flying above the fields alongside the road we were driving on. And further on in the distance, we could see Syria.





















Much love,

2 Comments leave one →
  1. praisethelorne permalink
    August 13, 2012 10:48 pm

    As culturally ‘shocking’ as seeing soldiers still is to me, seeing Syria would probably freak me out a bit more, considering the current political situation.

    • August 15, 2012 4:47 pm

      It took me a while to get used to seeing soldiers too! When I first realized how close Syria was when I first got here, I was freaked out because of the hostile relations with Israel, and now it freaks out for different reasons…

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