Friday, January 1, 2016

Dear Son, Wear the Damn Coat

It's a macho thing. It's a boy/man thing. It's stupid.

In Israeli society, or at least in the army, soldiers are united by a sense of serving together, of love for their fellow soldiers. David is working hard in the army. Aliza asked him why he didn't let some of the other boys carry something or do something. David looked surprised at her question and then realized he needed to explain.

"Haven't you ever heard the term "mishpachat Tzahal"? The Tzahal (army) family? That is it in a nutshell. David won't work less so that others will work more. He will carry what he can, do what he can. I'm very proud of him. He's an idiot.

No, he's not. What he is...like his brothers before him...is a combat soldier.

As united as the army is, they are also divided into units - this serves the army as each soldier is trained within a unit to do what the army needs as a whole. They don't only need ground forces or artillery, tanks or an air force. They need it all and so the boys (and girls!) are sent to units, each having a particular job during war...and during the non-war periods (because, in 68 years and counting, we've never had peace).

In a larger sense, the army is divided into two categories - kravi and jobnik. Kravi means combat; jobnik means...well, non-combat. It's a silly way to define the largest part of the army; there are way more jobnik positions than kravi and way more soldiers who become jobniks rather than are able or choose to go to kravi.

Each of my sons was asked - will you serve in a combat unit...each answered yes...I'm very proud of them...and they're all idiots.

No, they're not. But Davidi is on his way home in what is likely the coldest, wettest storm of the year so far and I'll bet you anything he isn't wearing a coat. You see, dear friends, there are things that kravi do and things that jobniks do...

Jobniks pin their beret to their shoulders rather than rely on the loop of the uniform to hold it in place. Kravi don't do that because...well, they're kravi. Um...I'm with the jobniks on this one.

Jobniks have subtle differences about their uniform - many don't have to wear combat boots...which makes sense because those boots are heavy (and expensive) and they aren't really needed if you aren't working with heavy equipment, at war, might drop a gun on your foot, whatever.

And apparently, "only jobniks wear coats" over their "dress" uniforms. Dress uniforms are worn for ceremonies, but they are also worn to and from the home. The army looks its best when it travels on our buses and the uniforms they wear are made not to wrinkle, are thinner rather than the normal uniforms they wear on base - stronger, thicker, meant for working in, etc.

And they are given two coats - the dress one and the fleece one for when they are base.

So, you'll see a whole bunch of kravi soldiers shivering today as they rush between the rain drops to get home. They're idiots.

Yes, they are. It's cold out and you're coughing. You're killing me here, David, please, I love you. Put on the damn coat!

2 comments:

Unknown said...

A true Jewish mother. I agree. PUT ON THE COAT. You are my baby, too. :)

Marsha Sternstein said...

A true Jewish mother. I agree. PUT ON THE COAT. You are my baby, too. :)

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