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January 01, 1993 - Image 123

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-01-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

On Patrol In Gaza

matches, catch up on a lot of
z's and, as I did, go through
10 paperbacks. Although the
Ot un is strong, the exposed
i position can be chilling.
Meanwhile, a round-the-
clock vehicle patrol re-
sponds to calls of stone
throwers, roadblock build-
er s , tire burners, flag
,-- angers and "ninjas." No,
Arab boys and girls don't
get dressed up as stealthy

Japanese warriors for Pu-
rim, Halloween or a Muslim
equivalent. These ninj as put
out nailed planks or PVC
tubing for Israeli vehicles to
run over, in the hope of
shredding their tires.
Occasionally, we come
across strewn-about pam-
phlets published by the inti-
fada leadership which we
have to collect. A few go to
the intelligence officer; the

rest are destroyed.
Yom Hazikaron, Israel's
Memorial Day, passes us by;
there is no wailing siren to
announce a moment of silent
tribute to those who paid the
ultimate price.
In the evening, however,
we celebrate Yom
H a' atzmau t (Independence
Day) with the traditional
barbecue and fanfare. A few
guys fire off signal and illu-

mination flares, as good as
or better than the store-
bought fireworks we used to
buy for the Fourth of July.
The time actually whizzes
by. I get to know the guys,
their backgrounds, both
army and civilian. Before we
know it, we're planning our
party for the final night in
Gaza. Ami, a confectioner in
civilian life, will make a
chocolate cake and baked

apples for the dessert. I plan
to introduce the guys to real
American pancakes, going
to great lengths to buy out-
rageously expensive Ameri-
can syrup.
As I combine the ingre-
dients I discover, to my
horror, that I haven't put in
enough milk. Making flap-
j acks for one or two people is
not the same as making
them for a whole company of
soldiers and their guests.
For obvious reasons, we
are forbidden to buy food or
drink from the locals, and
the army does not regularly
stock milk, even the pow-
dered variety. As I watch
the batter coagulate like
cement, I play my only hand
by getting on the two-way
radio.
"S-72 from base."
"S-72, over."
"S-72, get over to a blue
and white framework (Israe-
li settlement) and bring us
six liters of milk."
Just then, battalion head-
quarters butts in: "Base
bowl, quit screwing around.
This is an official channel."
I tell HQ in plain language
that this is Commander
America speaking, that if
they want to have pancakes
at our party, we had better
get some milk, ASAP. They
grudgingly reply, "OK, but
next time, use the alterna-
tive frequency."
The milk arrives in time,
and four hours and two
bottles of oil later, I serve
five heaping platters of hot-
cakes and earn the gastro-
nomical gratitude of all who
had partaken.
We split up next day after
turning in all our equipment
and swapping telephone
numbers.
All the grunting and
groaning that accompanies a
call-up notice is, I believe,
just a macho cover-up for a
tender, nostalgic urge to see
one's buddies and have a few
laughs and good times. I'm
not ashamed to admit that I
look forward to my next
brown envelope, because it
means being reunited with
my new extended family
here in Israel. 0

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