My name is Lorelle. I am a student at the IDC in Hertziliya. I made aliya alone from South Africa. I received my Tzav Rishon from the army and I wanted to know how and if the army has a social and personal affect on someone’s life. In other words can it create some sort of resentment because essentially you “belong” to the state for a certain number of years. How do you deal with this?
Thank you and shabbat shalom
First of all, welcome to Israel!
Joining the IDF certainly affects your life, in fact it does so a great deal. How much and in what way is a combination of luck and what you make of the situation. I have a lot of friends and family who have served in the army, and while there are many common experiences, there are also a great amount of things that depend on each individual. As for how much you enjoy it, is completely up to you. I know people who were miserable in the army and hated every moment, while I know others who wish everyday they could join back up because they miss it. Some of this will depend on the job you receive, the soldiers in your unit and your officers, and in what state of mind you approach it all. Once, at the beginning of a particularly tough field week (no food, no sleep, very cold and rainy, lots of heavy gear), a commander of mine told us, “if you go into the week depressed – it’s going to suck guaranteed, if however you give it everything you got and have fun – it will be amazing.” This is probably the truest statement I ever heard, and actually as you’ll notice this really reflects on life in general. On the positive side, I think the army is a great chance to meet Israelis and other soldiers you would never meet in the civilian world, and a great opportunity to improve your Hebrew. I also personally found that having served in the IDF gave me an “in” in Israeli society. You understand what all Israelis go through, and you have a common experience which makes it easier to connect.
Would you be a “lone soldier” (meaning that your parents do not live in Israel)? Because today there are many programs and organizations that specifically help lone soldiers throughout their army service. To name a few there is the lone soldier center, the Michael Levine foundation, Ach Gadol, and also Nefesh Be Nefesh are helpful. If you are, let me know and I can get you the contact information for these sources (and trust me, they are very! helpful).
All the best and good luck with school!