Thursday, 7 October 2021

Tanks

My youngest son enlisted in the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) back in August. His big brother has been a soldier since August 2019, so now, for a few months, we have two soldiers in the family!
I have explained about Israel's military service before but think it is interesting enough to share again. Every Israeli male and female from the age of 18 who is Jewish, Druze or Circassian (Arab citizens of Israel are not conscripted) is required to serve three and two years, respectively, of compulsory military service. Some exceptions are made on religious, physical, or psychological grounds. The IDF determines a medical profile for each soldier and, according to that profile, decides where to assign the draftees. The highest medical profile draftees serve in the five infantry Brigades, Field/Combat Intelligence units, and Combat engineers. The second highest medical profiles are assigned to serve in the Armoured Corps, Artillery, Military Police, Border Police, and Aman. The lowest acceptable level of medical profiles are drafted into the combat support and combat service support arms, such as the Adjutant Corps, Logistics Corps, and the Ordnance Corps.
The Army calls upon a potential soldier in a letter called the Tzav Rishon, or "First Draft Notice". This letter states that the teenager must report to a certain place at a certain time for a day-long examination and interviewing. After careful evaluation of the Tzav Rishon's results the army decides who is going where when they enlist.
From time to time a public debate emerges in Israel around the issue of exemption from military service in Israel and indeed whether the country should end conscription in favour of an all-volunteer force. In the meantime there is a need for a large army and there is great pride - and of course some fear - in sending our kids off for their national service.
Before my son went into the army I made a special card for him. I showed him in his olive green madei alef uniform. There are two types of uniforms (madim) in the army, madei alef and madei bet. The madei alef is the dress uniform that the soldiers wear at ceremonies and when off base. Madei alef differ for each force whereas madei bet are olive green for all units. I added the Israel Defence Forces emblem and the flag of Israel to the card, along with a tank (my son drafted into the Armoured Corps) and some black army boots. He has been learning to polish them and keep them shiny - something he had never done before!
The Hebrew greeting on the card says Giyus Kal. Giyus means "recruitment," "enlistment" or "induction" and is most closely associated with the army, as in terms like lishkat giyus, or military induction centre; tzav giyus, or draft notice; and mesibat giyus, the party many Israelis throw just before they join the army for their compulsory service. "Kal" means "easy".
Photo credit: Gadi Isaacs
My son may have had a drink or two or three at his mesibat giyus and let his friends cut his hair for him before his enlistment. All the curly locks that you can see on his card went and it looked terrible! Fortunately it has already grown back and he now keeps it short and even length, without layering, as per IDF requirements. He is currently doing his basic training, tironot, and seems to be doing okay. I hope that it continues that way and that his service will be easy, safe and meaningful to him.


13 comments:

Michele Morin said...

My youngest is a member of the National Guard so I feel your mixture of pride and apprehension!

riitta k said...

Beautiful card. We have in Finland also obligatory military service. A system is a bit different from yours. Those who refuse the military service are assigned to some public service. For women military service is not obligatory, but many young women want to do that.

Coastal Bohemian said...

It's a great card. Pinning.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

a beautiful card that shows your pride and love

Tamar SB said...

That is a great one!

Cloudia said...

God bless your family and God preserve Israel forever!

thisiswhereitisat said...

This is brilliant x

VeggieMummy said...

Lovely card. It must be very mixed emotions for the parents when that letter arrives! xx

Joanne said...

Wishing your son a safe service as well.

Jayne said...

What a special card. You must be such a proud mum. Wishing Gadi a safe service. :)

handmade by amalia said...

A great card. Hope your son has a good service and you an easy mind.
Amalia
xo

judee said...

Thank you for taking the time to explain the entire service process . Very interesting and of course your card is perfect. Hope your son is safe and there is peace in now and always in Israel..

Miss Val's Creations said...

You must be so proud. Having to serve at 18 years old must really help the children mature into adults. I hope Gadi stays safe and healthy throughout his term.

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