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Bonding at its best. Daum
Photo: Rafi Deloya
Bonding atop a tank
Military service as a melting pot proves true as a settler, a Druze, a kibbutznik and a musician watch the sun rise over an army post

My military career will not star in the tales I tell my grandchildren.

 

I was a hesder yeshiva soldier who joined the Armor Corp. almost by default and a mediocre tank driver. I even dented a tank once, after I lost communication with the base for a few minutes and failed to hear my commanding officer tell me to stop.

 

In another drill, my tank forged on for the exact same reason – we lost the comlink. The result – 10 other tanks stood there, with us in their sights. My regiment commander, needless to say, was not amused.

 

Despite all this, my team and I soon found ourselves in Sujud – a southern Lebanese army post deep in the eastern sector. The four of us: Me – a kippah-wearing settler for a driver; Ziad – a Druze who was our gunbarrel loader; Nimrod – a humor filled sad-eyed kibbutznik and our tank commander – a musician who never ever missed a Shlomo Arzi concert in Caesarea – spent out nights there, living the epitome of the Israeli experience, with the gracious SLA soldiers as our hosts.

 

On our last night in Sujud, in the midst of an "artichoke" stakeout (which we spent doing nothing and occasionally firing at wild boar), we decided to break protocol. So we sat atop the tank, talking, making instant soup, eating sausages and drinking sodas we bought from the SLA soldiers – against regulations of course.

 

In those moments it seemed nothing existed outside that little Israeli melting pot, brewing on top of a tank in Sujud.

 

As the sun came up, moments before we climbed down the tank for the last time, we all hummed Shlomo Arzi's "Moon", hoping, that if yesterday went well, so will tomorrow.

 

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