An Iranian Jew in the Israeli army
June 19, 2001
After writing my letter, "Not
our war", I was asked to write about my memories as a soldier in
the Israeli army. I've decided to alter my daily journals and summarize
them for those who are interested in what goes on at an army camp in Israel.
I joined the Israeli army to work on a satellite network designed to
capture real-time images from refugee camps and military bases. When I got
to the Ben Gourion Airport, I felt the fear in everybody's eyes. You are
not safe here; that was the message.
After a month of training in the north, near the Syrian boarder, we were
given a Jeep, an Uzi and 1,000 shekels ($250) to go to a base in the Gaza
strip, and Haifa afterwards.
Being an Iranian in the Israeli task force was a bit odd since we (Iranians)
generally support the PLO. But after numerous interviews and background
checks, I was let into the base and given needed access to the control room30-feet
below the surface.
Working in the heart of a historic land thousands of years of old might
sound interesting. But gunfire and explosions divert your mind away from
history and towards reality.
After designing the network, which took us about five days, me and my
co-workers (all Americans) checked the area to lay down the dishes (each
10-feet in diameter). After 10 days of walk-thru's under fire, with the
help of the air force, we were in business.
But something more interesting was happening in the army, which we all
gradually became aware of. The Israeli people didn't like us soldiers. They
were reluctant to help us in this project. They wanted the war to stop and
we were there to make it harder for them.
After the first month, we had advanced our digital cameras and high performance
moving sensors in the Arab areas and refugee camps. Now we were ready to
monitor activities and physical changes of the area.
The first three months passes by very quickly since the work was overwhelming.
But later I had time to do my own little research on the people and their
situation. This wasn't a war. Maybe you could call it the Vietnam of the
Middle East with a more mature America involved as a player.
I can't talk further about the mission I was involved in since it was
top secret (for who? No clue) and, of course I can't send any pictures.
But there is one thing I discovered and it makes sense to me. I remember
when I was a kid back in Iran; Ayatollah Khomeini once said, "All our
problems are from the U.S. and the West". After being an eyewitness
to the U.S. involvement in the area, I came to the conclusion that Prime
Minister Sharon and Yasser Arafat are nothing but U.S. puppets.
I brought back an olive tree for my dad in America to plant it in our
backyard in remembrance of a peace which we can only hope for.