For all the new readers (especially Doubletapper) who are visiting my blog: This is a personal - maybe even too personal - journal of what it's like "getting the call" after 01:00 to prepare for an incursion into the Gaza Strip.
I wrote it over the course of several weeks after a terror bombing at a gambling parlor/bar in the town of Rishon Letzion, near Tel Aviv in 2002.
I recorded the introduction to the linked audio soon after an IDF foray to try to rescue IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit.
I hope you'll agree that I did my best to be fair and objective interviewing one of the soldiers, a Canadian immigrant, despite the circumstances. My deepest thanks to him for his honest, personal responses. Comments and questions are welcome.
(The audio and written accounts reveal no sensitive IDF material, and were cleared at the time by senior officers)
Audio: Preparing for the Gaza War
The call came...
...My concern rises to the surface like a half-forgotten bad dream tailing me out of my slumber.
"This is a 'tzav-8' call-up. You need to arrive at the base by 9:00 am," she says, asking if I understand the instructions and other pertinent details. I mumble my assent, hanging up the phone as I fall back into a chair.
Stunned, I told my now-awake wife that no, this wasn't a drill and that no, they weren't kidding. Suddenly taken aback in a rush of confusion and inchoate fear, I drag down the dusty, readied backpack from the crawlspace over the bathroom, mentally going over the list of needed last minute supplies.
Later, deep in the heart of the night, we finish packing the bag, both finally comprehending that I was Gaza bound, and though uncertain, likely en route to harms way.
I arrived at the sprawling Negev-area base later that morning. Hundreds of friends and acquaintances - all brothers in arms - were already there, milling in and out of ragged lines, signing in and signing out on rifles, gear and webbing. Guys in the unit I hadn't seen appear for duty in years, aged and way past enlistment age were there, trying on wrinkled fatigues and lacing up stiff boots. Reports said we were at well over a 100 percent show rate. Fairly amazed, proud, and somewhat abashed at the plain show of patriotism, I went from group to group, catching up on news since our last term of service together.
The knowing looks between us as we backslapped and traded stories of times gone by wordlessly said it all. Our unit, together with many others, was preparing to go into operation against the Palestinian terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip...(more here)