Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Not a Game


I’m sprinting across the rocky terrain to reach safety in the form of a one hundred square foot metal shack. Heart racing, out of breath, I’m trying to remember the instructor’s commands. Muscle memory, no time to aim, hurry, hurry.


There’s splatter on my face. I’ve been hit. It doesn’t hurt as much as I had imagined, and at least this meant it was over.

The next thing I know I’m back in the shade covering, laughing with my friends as we sip on water, admiring our battle scars and freshly crafted modern art. Paintball is fun after all.

While there is no way to do the real act justice, the simulation of a terrorist attack response scenario did give a glimpse into the realities of the IDF. The commander gave us basic training, focusing on everything from the precise angle to step while drawing our guns to teamwork communication while entering a building with a terrorist threat. Even though I knew that the embarrassment from slipping on the rocks and falling was my only real danger, I couldn’t help but feel legitimate fear as I crouched around a corner to fire at the “terrorists” in the form of my friends with green paint for bullets. This fear is amplified tenfold when I try to imagine the real situation.

The night before the simulation, we had attended a presentation by Colonel Bentzi Gruber on the ethics within the IDF.  Contrary to certain popular beliefs, the IDF takes extreme precaution to prevent as many civilian casualties as possible, including a no shoot policy if there is even a sliver of doubt that the target is correct. Even though the commander at the simulation reinforced this policy multiple times throughout the day, I must admit that I did not once think while I was firing at the enemy team whether or not my stray “bullets” might hit an innocent. To combine their code of the ethics with the absolute chaos during a terrorist attack, I truly cannot reiterate how much respect I hold for these men and women.


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