Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Meet the Chayal

Beth Israel Vancouver Hebrew School students had an opportunity to discuss issues that interested them thanks to this week's online class with JETS director Smadar Goldstein.

The kids were invited to ask any and all of their questions to Sgt. Zevi Wruble who served with the IDF for 2 years.

D: have you ever killed anyone?
Zeevi: No - and I wouldn't want to. 

D: Have you ever been hurt?
Zeevi: I sprained my ankle one week when I was in training. 

E: Do you know anyone who has been hurt?
Zeevi: yes, a lot of my friends; in training, carrying heavy bags, you're going to get a lot of injuries. Another friend had a firebomb thrown at him and he caught on fire. That was bad. But he's ok now. 
E: How old were you when you joined?
Zeevi: 20 - I did hesder; studied for 2 years in yeshiva, then army for 2 years, then yeshiva for another year. Now I'm studying to be a lawyer. 

E: Were you scared before you went in to the army?
Zeevi: I wasn't scared before, but sometimes, when I was doing terrorist raids, I was scared. When the Arabs threw donkeys and refrigerators off the roof on us, we're not even allowed to shoot back, because they are not shooting at us. It happens all the time. 

D: If you're not in combat, what do you do? Like if you have diabetes, like me. 
Zeevi: Only 10% of soldiers are in combat, there's lots of other stuff to do. Cyberwarfare, stuff like that. 
D: I would want to do that. 

D: Were you ever proud of being in the army?
Zeevi: Since the days of King David, there hasn't been a Jewish army. My grandparents are both Holocaust survivors; When I was sworn in, I got a Tanach and a rifle. I thought about how my grandparents in Nazi Europe weren't able to protect themselves, and now, the Jewish country can and always will protect ourselves.  I was proud then. 

D and others: That's really cool. 
E: Was training hard?
Zeevi: YES! They train you not to sleep. We had to walk 40 km hikes with bricks in our bags. 
D: That seems kind of pointless. 
Zeevi: yes, in today's day and age, it does seem pointless. But it's to test you and test your ability that you can do anything, nothing can stand in your way. You help friends, you carry the ones who are having a hard time, on your back. It breeds solidarity and friendship. We also do combat exercises; shooting practice, evening, morning, afternoon drills, war drills, etc. 

D: Do you watch sports in the army? Which ones?
Z: You're assuming we had a TV that worked, that had reception, which never happens. Actually, once I saw Maccabi Tel Aviv soccer game. The whole unit sat and watched the game. After the game, we caught a terrorist. 

D: Are the terrorists violent when you catch them?
Zeevi: Oh, no, they say 'thanks, I didn't want to do that. " they're really nice. 
Zeevi: But, many of them are quite poor and get paid a lot of money by the PA; the worse the crime, the more money they get. Most of them are not very nice. Some of them do want to be caught. Some shoot at you when you catch them. Sometimes their mothers shoot at you, too. 

D: Have you made any really good friends in the army?
Zeevi: Absolutely. You're sleeping in dirt together 24/7, you're freezing out all night long, nothing around you; you just hug each other for warmth. You're literally glued to them for a year and a half. So, yeah, I had some really good friends in the army. I'm a red head - and American - and named Zeev - there three others like that in the army. We were a trio. 

D: Did you always speak English?
Zeevi: My parents are American, and wanted to live in the Jewish State, so they moved to Israel. But I've always spoken English at home. 

Smadar: Thank you, Zeevi! 

Kids: That was really cool. He's a bowlin' dude! 

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