I’m on my way to being a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, צבא הגנה לישראל, IDF.
Olim Hadashim are giving two options when going to the IDF (18-13 years old):
1. Get a draft letter, a year after Aliyah
2. Go and sign up.
So I went with Option number 2. לשכת גיוס
I had to fax a form into Lisget Gius to say that I wanted to go in early. I was then told by my Ulpan director that I need to go to Lisget Gius in Haifa. I think most of the time, you will receive a letter in the mail with a bus pass.
I left early in the morning and reported to the office in Haifa, my local branch. I was with another Ulpan member and we went together. We got to the front, a line to get into the building. We gave the guard our Tudet Zahut, ID Card, and they entered it into the computer and gave us a temporary army card (Very important for getting your name in the lines).
*OK, so I am thinking this is just a trip to talk to a guy in a office for 20min, tell him we want to go sooner than we get our draft papers, he takes our info and we leave.
They told us to go to a room on the 3rd floor. Not too much info… Well we get up there and see about 15 people waiting outside the room with about 20 desks, all already full. We find out that we have to scan our temp card onto the computer just outside the door. I come up as number 18, in line. Great seems like it should go fast… Well after about of an 1 hour and 30 min, I get called into the room and sent to one of the 20 desks. I wait about another 20 mins for a soldier to show up. She first speaks to me only in Hebrew and refuses to speak English. I have no clue what is going on now. I could speak enough Hebrew to get through all the personal questions about my ID and general family info. I think this is it, but I wanted to speak english to make sure I said everything right, because she was giving me a funny look. She says she can’t speak English to me. She goes and gets her boss and then the women over comes over and speaks to me in Hebrew, almost quizzing me on my understanding of Hebrew and leaves after a 5min conversation. Then I wait about 20min for my soldier that was interviewing me. She comes back and says we can talk in English now. We go over my family info and I guess she was looking at me funny because I guess I said that my brother was dead. This is a big deal because, if you have a dead sibling and are then the only child, your choices in the Army are greatly reduced, no front-line units. Well we finish the info about me and I think I’m done.
My soldier leaves for about 10 mins and then comes back and starts asking me Hebrew questions. I have no clue why at this point, but it turns out that this is now my Hebrew Test to enter the IDF. So much for a visit to tell a guy that I want to join early… I begin to think that this is going to take a lot longer that I expect. I see a female soldier I know, she is the girlfriend of a guy in my ulpan and her sister lives on my kibbutz. She tells me not to worry, that all of this is standard of English speakers in Ulpan. Good.
Then another soldier comes and asks me more hebrew test stuff. Then the other soldier comes back to finish the test. It went really bad, I hardly understood what I was reading and writing, but I could read well and I could speak very basically. After the test, she asks me if I have ever learned another language.
We finish everything, as I think, she tells me that I need to go to room downstairs and go my pee test. I walk down the stairs, then she comes running after me and takes me back to her desk. She forgot to have me sign a paper and fill out a psycho questionnaire…This was the weirdest thing I had to do the whole day. Questions like to you feel different that others? Do you ever experience a gay mood, feel Happy for more than a day or two? Not Gay, Happy, very old questionnaire. The thing was that most of the questions seemed negative and you could answer, Never, Rarely, Sometimes, or often. I signed the office draft agreements. I can be called up now anytime, I can’t leave Israel for more than 3 months, I will take an IQ test…ect.
Then I leave and go and take my pee test. 5 min quick and I was giving a medical sheet and sent to another room. I go in the room they do blood pressure, height, and weight. They asked about my eyes, I told them I have glasses and contacts… well the eye doctor is not there. I have to come back another time or get an official eye exam fax it to them. Then they send me to the medical doctor. Guess what? A big line, all the same people in front of me in the first line. While waiting I find out that we get a free sandwich. Yay, the first thing I get to eat all day. I wait another hour and get called into the doc’s office. They do a quick physical and ask about my past medical history and anything that could limit my service. It took about 20 mins. Now this is where I should have got my profile for duty. *Profile is how the IDF sees what you are fit to do in service. 97 being the highest number and what I hope to get. Well I don’t get a profile because I still need to do my eye exam. My eye sight should not hurt my score, but I am disqualified from being a pilot, which I can’t go anyways.
Then they send me to another room to have my IQ test. I wait for 45 mins and then get called into to do the test on a computer. They explain it to me. Time limit and shapes… It was really crazy, a bunch of patterns with shapes and I had to pick which shape I thought would be next. Well they don’t tell you how you did, because as they said to my friend they want to be nice and not tell you if your dumb. After this they tell me I’m done with all the processes and that in a few weeks or months I will be contacted by the IDF.
*Point of Info: Most soldiers in the IDF are 18-21. Most of the soldiers working at לשכת גיוס are female about 20.
Well I wait for another hour for the other guys from my Ulpan. It is now six hours later. I only had a shitty sandwich and nothing to drink and I only slept four hours the night before, because of the Broncos game.
Well it takes about 1:45 mins to get back, bad traffic.