Three weeks have passed since I last posted a blog update and this is due to two simple reasons. The main one being that it has not been a particularly exciting time recently and the second reason is that not doing much seems to have made me quite lazy.
Just today during a meeting with the מג׳׳ד (commander of battalion), I was made aware that my request to sign on more time and do a slightly longer army service has been denied. He told me that he knows how much I want to sign and he also would happily allow me to but the decision is in the hands of those higher than him and due to my injury and lower medical profile, I am not being allowed to sign time and in the two months that I have remaining, I am not allowed to return to combat. The news that I cannot complete my army service as a combat soldier isn’t what I wanted to hear but at the same time, after really considering all of my options, I don’t think I am physically in a position where I can carry out my duty as a combat soldier and so it is really for the best, as devastating as it is. It was rather amusing to hear the מג׳׳ד (commander of battalion) summarise to me in the following exact words…
“pew pewאת לא יכולה לעשות שום דבר קשור ל”
“you can’t do anything connected to pew pew”
Despite the regular procedure being to send a soldier in my position to a job in the main גדוד (battalion), my מג׳׳ד (commander of battalion) is allowing me to stay with my סוללה (battery) to help out around the base, meaning although I cannot be sent on physical missions, I can do duties in the חמ׳׳ל (war room), which is essentially the room where all the phone calls and communications take place. I am beginning to accept that my service is coming to an end and not in the way I envisioned it happening although I am beginning to understand that the injury was not my fault and this is just the way things have unfortunately worked out. Now I have to start thinking about what I want to do when I get released in 53 days and how I am going to deal with real citizen life because I have been in the army almost from the moment I arrived in Israel.
In the past few weeks since I returned from my medical leave, whilst on base I have not been able to do much apart from waiting and requesting every day for a meeting with the מג׳׳ד (commander of battalion), which I finally got this week. Since my medical profile has been lowered to a 45 and they were taking their time deciding what to do with me, I spent most of my time sitting around not doing much apart from twice a day helping to clean up the base, which often involved lifting heavy things despite the whole reason for me not doing any physical missions being that I shouldn’t be using my shoulder to lift heavy things! It was certainly exciting to be back on base with everyone and I definitely did miss a lot of them so it was good to catch up with them. Despite spending a lot of time being bored up to the level of volunteering to help out in the kitchen, I managed to fill my time in ways such as playing football, going on a 4km run to the nearest town, Elkana (after not running for about three months), ordering food, sitting with friends and leaving base occasionally for physiotherapy and hospital check ups. I have even managed to take advantage of the few days of summer weather by going to the beach twice, although one time since I left base so late, by the time we got there it was quite cold.
If I haven’t quite managed to highlight quite how bored I have been recently, it reached a point where I was so bored on base that I even asked one of my friends to open my vein just for the sake of having something to do! After going to physiotherapy the day after only to find that there was nobody there due to it being election day, I didn’t want to go straight to base after a wasted day that I went to a Magen David Adom mobile blood bank to donate blood. It seems that I hadn’t eaten enough that morning and after fainting three times following the blood donation, I headed back to base after the most interesting day I had had in a while! Last weekend, my friends Lucy Benjamin arrived in Israel for a holiday and I was lucky enough to get to spend all Shabbat with her! After a beach trip on Thursday afternoon, we spent Friday preparing lots of Shabbat food and that night for the first time since we moved into our new Jerusalem apartment, all three room mates were home together for Shabbat. We invited a few other friends over and despite the chicken being slightly on the raw side of things, it was a really good evening. The next day we walked to a friend’s house for another great meal and the afternoon was spent hanging out on our large, open balcony eating cold, fresh watermelon under the scorching sun!
After arriving on base late on Sunday after physiotherapy in the morning, I arrived in time for a gathering for lone soldiers in the battalion in celebration of the festival of passover and the מג׳׳ד (commander of battalion) gave a short speech and we received gifts of a camping mat, some towels and a pillow. On Tuesday I had a 12 week check up at the hospital for my shoulder and I was happy to hear everything is progressing well. Wednesday began with an early start as I left base with two other lone soldiers from my סוללה (battery) and we headed to Binyamina Train Station where we met up with all of the lone soldiers in the חטיבה (brigade) for a fun day. It started with outdoor team building activities, which was actually really funny, especially since I was in a group with lots of Americans I had met during basic training from other גדודים (battalions) , followed by a museum tour in Zichron Yaakov before arriving at a Totchanim base for another lone soldier gathering where we received more gifts and this was led by the מח׳׳ט (commander of the whole brigade). The day ended with a ceremony for soldiers that were being recognised for excellency, which was really interesting to watch and since it was an event mostly for very high ranking officers, it was a high standard of sophistication and there was amazing food.
I arrived home today and now I need to help clean up my whole apartment for the festival of Passover, which begins tomorrow. I am very lucky my two room mates did the majority of cleaning so all that remains for me to do is my own room and a few other parts of the flat before I travel up North to Zichron Yaakov to spend the weekend with my cousins.
Please get in touch with me, I’d love to hear how you’re getting on!
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Missing everyone back at home in England, please let me know if you’re planning a trip to Israel as I’d absolutely love to see you.
Ronit Prais – רונית פרייס