My Military Service - Part 2
Written by Talia Goldberg, Community Shlicha
Officer training is divided into 2 parts. First, there is general officer training that happens in the general officer training base - Bahad 1. Then the professional officer training that happens in your own units, for that I did the Education Unit’s training.
There's a saying in the military that if you love Bahad 1, you will hate your professional officer training and that if you love your professional officer training, you will hate Bahad 1.
I loved Bahad 1! I felt like I was using the leadership skills I had in me and helped me expand my skills. I bloomed, I was so happy I didn't even mind staying 21 days in a row at the base. It was during this time that I met many of my close friends who I stayed in touch with regularly to today. Being in the big army with a lot of people really helped me find my strengths and helped me believe in myself and my future.
But like I mentioned earlier, it's one training or the other, I HATED my professional officer training. It truly made me depressed to be back at the base. Even though I did my basic training in those same gloomy gray walls with thousands of soldiers running around it always felt like a bad dream. All I could think was that I was living in the books 1984 or Brave New World. I remember thinking I was where the grass is perfectly cut and there's a big clock in the middle of this town, almost like the movie The Truman Show.
I couldn’t wait until the 3 months were over, and I was stationed as an officer in charge of non-commissioned officers for their training to get a higher rank. The training for the non-commissioned officers was either a week or two weeks long and I was their commander and tour guide through all of it. I loved my job, even though at this point I didn’t think being in the military was the right thing for me. I had a difficult time with all the structure and rules in the army but loved the people I got to work with. I loved my non-commissioned officers and until today a lot of them still feel free to text me questions or let me know what’s happening to them.
Non-commissioned officers in the Israeli military are always very hard people. They are usually in the army for many years and are always doing the same small jobs. Many of them didn’t do well in high school. Others stayed in the army because they didn't believe they could do anything else. It was a unique experience working with a group of 40-year-olds. They believed that because they are older than me they know more, but I demonstrated that this young officer could show them something new.
I finished my military service after 3 years, ending in August 2019. I believe I’ve changed a lot because of my army service. I am glad I had this experience. It definitely gave me many skills like becoming more confident and mature. But I am also glad to be done with that part of my life. You don't realize the pressure you are under when you are in the army until you are overseas. I didn’t realize how seeing wars break out would affect me until I moved far away.