Last week, I went to Gadna to learn about the roots of the IDF. It was the most horrifyingly amazing experience I’ve had (and most likely will ever have) in my life. The first day was so boring that it made all of us who were there come up with elaborate schemes to either get kicked off the base or escape the highly secured military base. The only way to get through that day was to just keep telling ourselves that the next day would be better. The subject of the following day was weapons training. During this day we practiced with surplus rifles from the 60s that were filled with concrete and very painted with white paint on the front and back. If my Mefakedet (commander) or Memem (platoon commander) were here, I’d be in trouble for saying the parts in English, and not Hebrew. After a day with fake guns and learning about the military in the air-conditioned classrooms we went to sleep in a rocky field in order to prepare for the most amazing day of all. This day was the field day. We learned how to crawl and dive away from rocks that were “explosive.” We used all of these tactics in a giant game of capture the flag in which everyone had to put more and more mud on their faces to keep “concealed” in the bushes. The end of the day was where Gadna truly showed its colors. This part was called “The Journey.” We walked and ran for about ten minutes while all yelling, “Yahev Hallel!!!!!!!” Now it was time for everyone to sprint with an empty stretcher. Next was the most amazing experience of my life because it showed me what I could do if I just never give up. It was crawling with my whole unit up a rocky hill and yelling and pushing just to make it to the end where the terrifying Samelet (sergeant) was standing and most likely laughing at us. The next day was the shooting range! We shot our guns and then spent a few hours preparing before the closing ceremony.
Now, fast-forward to this upcoming week. We have met our Israeli guests and have bonded with them over the banana boats we rode on through the Kinneret while getting bounced around and spritzed with water. This day was very fun and there is a whole week to come. It is amazing thinking that this is our last week in Israel. I feel that there is so much more in this spectacular country to explore and to experience. I am glad to have people from Israel who have so much in common with us. To share their country with us so that we can see it through a more seasoned lens. Although it will be sad to leave I will be happy sharing my last week with my new friends from Israel and am ready for them to make my last week the best week of my trip. Israel is a truly amazing and wonderful land which should have a special place in everyone’s heart all around the world.