Private Mori Makler is a 19-year old immigrant from Venezuela who was drafted into the army 11 months ago. He serves in the second company of the Caracal light infantry battalion.
Coming to Israel by himself, Makler came to join the army, and his parents and two sisters don’t know that he’s about to take part in the pullout.
“When I joined the army I wanted to do something real, involving a combat unit. But I didn’t know which unit to join, and somehow got to Caracal (a mixed-sex unit). The truth is that I never thought I’d join Caracal."
Meet the pullout team: Caracal Battalion, Company 2 (Photo: Attila Somfalvi)
“I don’t think we are ready for the disengagement. It’s not a mission that suits us. We did a basic training course of four months, and that’s it. It’s not the same kind of training as the Border Patrol units. I’m not sure that the girls, or the boys, will be able to hear what the settlers are going to say, these difficult things they will hear. We are simply not ready for this mission.”
Do you fear that the reality on the ground will be difficult?
“We’ve been training, but I don’t know if the real thing will be the same. Training is just training, but dealing with the real settlers will be something completely different. We don’t know what we will be facing, and that worries me, because we are going out on a mission, and we don’t know what we’ll find.
"The extremists scare me. I don’t know them, or how they think. But despite all the difficulties, I don’t want to get out of this. Even if I could, I wouldn’t ask to get out of it. There’s no one to do this in our place. The army chose our unit because we don’t really do anything, and they needed soldiers, so it worked out well.”
Did you think about the prospect of clearing a family from its house?
“It's hard to take someone from their home. I don’t know how I will cope with that, and I don’t know how I will respond if someone comes at me with a weapon. During the disengagement it’s hard to know what will happen. The training got rid of some of the fears, but still, nothing is really clear.
"At the end of the day, we have a real mess. I don’t rule out the possibility that I’ll breakdown. But if that happens, I’ll take ten minutes, and come back. If my friends are doing the mission, what not me? The unit is important to me, and my friends are important to me.”
“The policeman who is with us, Amit Kalo, is a great guy. He helps us a lot. If I need to turn to someone, I turn to him. The police are carrying this mission out in a completely different way than the army. Our commanders are not as experienced as the police, and that’s a problem.”