What is it like to be an IDF combat soldier?

What is it like to be an IDF combat soldier?
To be a combat soldier is to be away from home. To be a combat soldier is to understand that there are tasks you must do no matter what mood you are in. To be a combat soldier is to understand that sometimes you must compromise for the sake of your comrades in arms. To be a combat soldier is to have the privilege of being in uniform to defend your people, a dream that millions of Jews only dreamed of doing for thousands of years. To be a combat soldier is to know that you are taking time out of your life for the sake of your country and your people.
What is it like to be a combat soldier in the IDF?
To be a combat soldier is to understand that you have a big and even dangerous and scary role but you are doing it because it is your time to let yourself protect the people you love and the soldiers who have died for you in the past.
Today we commemorate all our warriors, both of the IDF and of the victims of terror. This is a sad day. But it is important to note that I am also smiling on this day. This picture of me in uniform, on full combat gear and also putting on tefillin and praying is the most satisfying feeling there is.
To get up every morning for a mission in the area, guard duty or even kitchen duty. I do it because I am happy to watch over and serve my country, and I thank G-d that I have this privilege. This is an unequivocal privilege that I am aware of.
Memorial Day is unique for me this year. I’m serving at a post, in the southern Hebron Mountains in Judea and Samaria. Only seven of us are here today, much less than normal, because too many of my fellow soldiers were sent home on leave until Sunday. It’s not easy being understaffed. But then the Memorial day siren sounded. And you stand there still, in place, with your head held high and your silver beret on your head. Then everything is understood. You remember why you’re here and why you’re workig so hard this week. Your role is meaningful and more than that, it is a privilege to serve for these important days rather than at home because that is the best way to commemorate the IDF and terror victims we have lost.
And to understand that now it’s your turn to “suffer” a little for the sake of all those victims who are no longer with us because of their role in ensuring that you can live in our country.
To be a combat soldier is to work hard an entire week without manpower at a post on Memorial Day and Independence Day.
Simply … because I’m a combat soldier!
Yakir Abelow
Combat Soldier

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