I was browsing AMAs and saw a request for an Israeli serving in Gaza. I'm sure by a hamas soldier would be more interesting, but I figured if there's a request I might as well post.

I won't answer any hateful questions, but will be sure to answer any questions asked in an appropriate manner. This means I won't answer "How is it to be a baby killer in a jewfilled state?" or the like, but will if I don't feel you're asking just to be a douche and say it in a more civilized way.

About myself: I grew up in the US, but to Israeli parents, and moved back to Israel in the end of high school. I know many people have a lot to say on immigrants going for military service, but to clarify I was actually born Israeli, just lived in the states before. After high school I drafted to Givati infantry brigade in 2011, serving as a medic in a reconnaisance platoon on the Gaza border, in the West bank (Nablus) and for a short time by the border with syria. I had also been living near Gaza for a few years on a kibbutz and know the area well. A few months ago I finished my mandatory service and started working as a SCUBA instructor here, until I was drafted in the begining of the operation back to reserves. Our battalion chief was killed a few days into the ground incursion on the Israeli side by a tunnel coming into Nir Am. After they brought us another officer we were sent into Beit Hanoun for 3 days and then went in and out until the ground incursion was announced to be over.

Ask away, I'd also like to hear from any Gazans. I hope we can discuss this peacefuly and put aside our differences here and what our politicians have done. This madness needs to end and I'm sure we, the real citizens, can do that.

Proof has been sent to the moderators

Comments: 424 • Responses: 88  • Date: 

paladinmahdi50 karma

I'm a Palestinian from Nablus, I read your answers, you seem a reasonable guy, I have few questions.

What do you think about the future of the West bank with the building of the settlements and demolishing homes in Eastern Jerusalem, I mean the Palestinian cities and villages future, do you think Israel will try to kick them out too in the future by this slow expansion or just include them in one state ?, I'm pretty sure Israel will never agree on a two state solution, that's why I'm asking.

In the second Intifada I saw alot of IDF soldiers, and alot of wrong shit happened, so you see we here don't like IDF soldiers or settlers, but the people in Israel are mostly fine, my father still have Israelis friends knew them before 2000, my question how Israelis see Palestinian ? Do you see them as equal human begin , or just nuanced Arabs who just happened to live beside you?

zav850 karma

I see everybody as an equal human being! I hope thats very clear. All humans deserve equal rights and are created equal in the image of God.

Also Im not a big fan of settlers. The ones by Nablus are also the worst to soldiers as well.

I think Israel will need to take a two state solution, if not theyl be stuck with the settlements and have to take a one state solution. I hope they clear them out because they are the biggest obstacle set up by the right for peace.

Also most Israelis see palestinians as equals. Many are sick of the attacks that occur (obviously not even equivocal to those on palestinians by an organized country and military) but just want quiet. You hear very often Israelis who pitty the average citizen of Gaza and blame Hamas for it (they could never imagine Hamas is legitimate for the social care and suppor they bring to palestinians).

paladinmahdi32 karma

I'm actually impressed, you are definitely a good guy, thanks for your answers. The problem they will never clear them, that's why I'm asking about the future. And good to know that they see them this way. The problem here, our people rarely meet, so most people here dislike Israelis, because they only see your government actions and the IDF military rule in the west bank or the settlers.

I think the best solution is a one state, that's my opinion, and not a military Jewish state, but a democratic state like USA or Canada or something like this, cause settlers ain't leaving, and a chance for the 1947 people who got kicked out could come back, who knows maybe after 10 or 20 years, the sad thing war and fighting will never end the way things are.

zav821 karma

I know most palestinians believe that. I dont want one state, and think theres too much animosity between our groups now for that to succesfuly occur. I do think the settlements is what will force one state and if two states dont happen soon then one state will become the only solution.

If we are to have one state though Id still live peacefuly with everyone.

Shouldbeworking2221 karma

When do you think this war will end? What will need to happen?

zav878 karma

I wish I knew the answer and wonder it every second. It needs to end already.

I think the only solution will be for Israel to admit Hamas will stay, and for the world to put UN or NATO troops, demilitarize them, and for Israel to leave them alone. It will also have to be quickly followed by a pullout and agreement for the westbank because they are the same country (look how fucked up that is, the same country split into two).

I don't think we need peace like people claim where we help eachother and sit for coffee, that can come later. Right now everybody needs to mind their own fucking business.

Loffarn32 karma

I like your stance on the occupation. Im a gazan currently living in norway. After my last visit to Gaza where i saw and observed some of the tunnels i was simply appalled by the way Gazans were reduced to being dependent on the tunnel-economics that has increased both corruption and drug/weapons import in addition to food and basic household supplies. Overall i feel bad for the people in Gaza but also pity the young israeli soldiers that have inherited this continued problem with the palestinians. I also think that we need to speak up and tell the world, that not every palestinian is a terrorist and not every israeli is a zionist. I also think that one cannot achieve both justice and peace in this conflict, but hopefully we might achieve the latter.

I know this is an AMA and i should probably Ask you something. What is the common consensus about zionism among ordinary israelis? (not counting settlers)

PS! Im also a diver! Shoutout if youre in Oslo and want to go diving. I don't have many israeli friends. I feel it is important that i get some.

zav829 karma

I consider myself a zionist. Most israelis see zionism as the want for a jewish state, doesnt necesarily mean that we want to keep settlements or have unequal rights. Thats not zionism, that's just being a bad person. Most israelis consider themselves zionist but want two states. Here we know that not all palestinians are terrorists, the world needs to know it too. I hope we can still go diving together though. I would like to.

Also when I speak about the tunnels I only mean those going into Israel. Obviously they arent to bring in goods, rather for attacks.

The blockade needs to end, it's terrible and hasnt achieved its goal. Hopefuly a solution can come where they are willing to lift it and feel safe.

cp51844 karma

If you were an arab, say someone in the west bank, how would you see zionism?

zav83 karma

It depends because from what I'm gathering they see zionism as settlers and occupation, so I'd see it as bad and oppressive. I don't see it as settlements and occupation, just a want for a jewish state and therefor consider myself a zionist. Many people consider themselves zionist and oppose the current actions by Israel.

It really come

aclonedsheep4 karma

I'm a secular american-jew that has been past the green line in gaza, and lost a cousin to a Hamas attack that I wasn't present for by sheer luck.

I think you are right that people on both sides speaking out together in the name of peace is the best approach. Thank you for your first hand account. I think the reason Netanyahu likes to call them terror tunnels is because it ignores the fact that many of them were constructed because of the blockade and to supplement the economy (even if it was corrupt and still funneling military supplies). Just like he calls his victims human shields, and not just humans.

I think a lot of Jews (in Israel and the diaspora) believe that Israel should exist because the Jews need a homeland. We're taught how the pioneers transformed the land and made it vital. So there is an undertone that it was a wasteland before and because we made it so nice it is ours now. More than anything though, I think it's the history of Jewish persecution (even before WWII) that leads to most support of Zionism.

zav84 karma

I'm sorry about your cousin. It's difficult to look at this rationally when somebody close to you has been hurt by the situation.

The tunnels into Israel aren't to supplement the economy, those into Egypt though are. There's no way to use them to supplement the economy in bringing anything from Israel. Those into Egypt are a vital lifeline for the Gazans and it's a terrible consequence of the blockade.

I agree with you on the feeling of a need of a homeland for Jews, which is why I support an Israeli state, just as long as it's based on previous borders and all citizens are afforded equal rights. Even though it's possible to blam the situation in France on Israel, it's good those people have a place to go.

GarcondePisse13 karma

I just want to let you know that I think you're a good man. I'm an American Jew who has found himself alienated by the right-wing tilt in Israel in recent years. I actually visited your country 5 years ago during Operation Cast Lead and found it beautiful but in many ways contradictory. We need more voices like yours to be heard in Israel so that the West doesn't think that Lieberman, Bennett, Netanyahu and the settlers are the only ones out there. Good luck to you.

zav811 karma

Being a religious jew was harder for me in America with my views. Here it's valued to have your own oppinion, there I've been called many terrible things and been alienated for them.

Lerker-7 karma

I believe this is because it's much easier for us to have very strong firm beliefs and opinions when the conflict is so far away. We don't have to deal with the reality of it the way that someone living there would; I'm sure people who actually live there have a wide array of experiences to make their opinions on, rather than our limited exposure.

zav824 karma

In my experience americans just love to be angry and hashtag shit on facebook. I hate when I see americans writing for this country to go to war when they don't have to suffer the consequences.

T9169 karma

To what point will you support your government's or leader's actions?

zav823 karma

In Gaza or in general? I was very vocal against our occupation in the west bank and refused to act in ways that I saw as immoral. In gaza I don't know. I really do feel the tunnels are a threat to the innocent people living in the area. Im happy they pulled out when they claimed they were cleared.

AKaaban3 karma

Can you give examples of you refusing to act in ways you saw were immoral? Were their policies that you thought were wrong and refused to implement?

zav815 karma

Ya. One policy is that after stone throwing at Israeli cars that caused an accident we were expected to go into the village and throw loud stun grenades (theyre loud but dont do anything) until kids come out and throw stones at us and then arrest them. I was very vocally opposed to this and made a point that they cant do it.

Other examples are simply arrests or checkpoints where you can either treat a palestinian like another person or be a douchebag. Some soldiers are douchebags, but knew I wouldnt allow it when around. Mostly these soldiers would be druze.

zav87 karma

Its not an incredible answer, but makes more of a difference then nothing. I really do believe in my decisions then. Either way it would happen, but having another voice like that can make a huge difference.

dpking22229 karma

What are your personal reasons for fighting?

zav829 karma

I want to protect my home, and I was drafted. Its the law.

I also felt throughout my service its better Im there as a compassionate caring person then somebody who acts like shit.

ElitePapuas8 karma

1) How to you feel about the pull out of forces from Gaza and the talks about ceasefire while there are still rockets on the south and risk of tunnel terror?

2) Do you had any face to face contact with Gazans civilians? How they reacted?

3) Does Hamas fight professionally with modern tactics or they just attack randomly as a street uprising?

PS, I'm from Israel as well so if you can tell me more in PM about the operation I'll be very glad!

zav837 karma

Great questions! I feel the pullout is good. The goal was only tunnels going into israel, the rockets are already in the thousands and cant be stopped. I think it was also great they didnt try to hold on to it for longer, it will just cause more damage to each side

I hadnt seen any civilians up close, we saw them in beit hanoun but did from afar. I felt very bad for them, I would be furious at the world if I was in their position.

Hamas fights with very modern tactics. They have kornet missiles and know to hide well. Even thermal and IR cameras. We shouldnt consider them terrorists, rather an army and a politicial movement.

miguelmald8 karma


zav848 karma

I can tell you from firsthand experience we were shot at from a school in Beit Hanoun. I dont know if it was hamas fighters or rogue fighters, but we were told not to shoot them unless out life was in immediate danger.

coolpooltool9 karma

What were the circumstances?

What I mean is: Was the school abandoned or in use and were you advancing on it? Was it in self defense? Or was it that it was aggressive action in an in-use school?

zav835 karma

The school was abandoned. Three people shot at us from afar, and the tank shot at the building until they stopped.

BTW I would do the same. It was a tall building which they had a good chance to kill us from. Thats what really matters, protecting your land.

edwaal13 karma

So wait now I'm curious. Was the incident in the news at all? What was the response from the media. We hear a lot about weapons being stored in schools but it's made to sound like they're literally being put under kids feet in classrooms.

zav815 karma

I dont know if this was. They attacked many school, i wouldnt be surprised if some of it was just to be assholes. I also did see weapons in homes, they cant keep them all in one since wed destroy it and they dont have much places that arent populated.

Person_of_interest_7 karma

What is the general concensus among troops in your battalion of why they have occupied and continue to occupy Palestine? Do your fellow soldiers all share the same views as the government or are they only fighting as it's a legal requirement when a man becomes of age?

zav826 karma

Most israelis dont see their army service as a direct correlation to the occupation. Most only serve because its mandatory ( which is actually good because you can have a better selection of soldiers) but they believe in the protection of israelis and that we are under threat by terrorists.

Also most soldiers in the west bank see their view as making sure their wont be any problems and that politicians should take care of the issues. I know that mosy guys I was with hated settlers as opposed to palestinians because they cause more trouble and even threw stones at us and called us nazis.

Most israelis dont view gaza as being occupied since the siege only started after hamas came to power and had already fired thousands of rockets into israel.

damageddude7 karma

American Jew, mid 40s here. I have a high school friend who moved to Israel 20 years ago and, from reading his Facebook posts, it seems that his and his friends hearts have hardened regarding the Palestinians (though considering the way they insult Obama it could be they are more like our conservative party). It's as if the years of bombs, attacks etc. have taken their toll. Is this common among the Israeli population?

zav812 karma

With many people yes. Today there was a terror attack on somebody from a sect of jews who don't even align with zionism.

Somebody once told me something thats very right. A person isnt the same person after hes been shot at. This goes for people on both sides. Its hard for them to support peace when they just see hate and death coming at them. I blame the governmentS for doing this.

Its just looking further and further away, but is still possible.

Berg6667 karma

I didn't come here to ask anything, just to wish you luck and hope this whole situation is over at some point in life .

zav87 karma

I pray that as well. This is too much for everybody ACTUALLY living through it.

DoomasterFlex6 karma

When taking part in the ground incursions, did you witness any Hamas or other militant fighters who were obviously under 18 years old?

zav813 karma

Personally no, but my friends did mention seeing militants that looked young or had kids near them. I don't believe Hamas would allow a kid to fight (maybe 16+), they need to be as legitimate as possible, but there are fighters not alogned with hamas there.

Jarmey6 karma

Do you understand why Palestinians resist oppression and occupation?

zav810 karma


And if you want to you can, but if its about being reasonable let other people see this so they can see both sides speaking about this like adults and maybe bring some sort of hope for peace here.

Jarmey2 karma

I am reading your responses and you seem like a reasonable guy. It is hard right now for me to think positive thoughts about IOF soldiers... but you seem like a decent fellow. I hope you have some impact in your country. Shalom

zav88 karma

I understand. Were really not all that bad, but our leaders are mostly responsible for this mess.

Heyyapper2 karma

Can you please elaborate on what you mean? I mean, I know Israel withdrew from Gaza on 2005, and the siege only started in 2007, so what could have the Israelis from that time to ensure peace. What could the leaders have done more?

zav82 karma

They could have come to a comprehensive agreement for peace with all palestinian parties.

It actually looked like it would have happened around then when reading the documents leaked on aljazeera about the peace discussions with Olmert. It looked like Olmert was working on an agreement with abu mazzen and then when he was taken out of office.

But when I say this I also mean responsible for not reaching an agreement. Both sides should make that their top priority and not leave the tables until somethings agreed upon.

Heyyapper3 karma

Thanks for taking the time to answer. I'm not so sure what comprehensive peace agreement between Olmert and Abu Mazen you mean. There was Annapolis in 2007 that Abbas declined and then the whole secret map drawing in 2008 to which broke down because Abbas just never got back to Olmert (there are a bunch of possible reasons why, which idk which is correct).

The big question is Hamas. Any deal with Abu Mazen has to include Hamas, as they are an integral part of the Palestinians who actually won the general elections in 2006.

So even if Israel and Abbas reach a deal, what can be done with Hamas whose charter vows to destroy Israel?

zav85 karma

A pretext to peace agreements can be to change the charter. Hamas must be willing to give up as well in peace agreements. I hope they can but I don't know, Im not involved with them.

Possibly a new election? I definitely agree they must take part in new negotiations, but the PLO took on a new form, Hamas must be able to as well.

AKaaban6 karma

Have you or your fellow soldiers ever witnessed Hamas using Gazans as human shields? Do you believe this rhetoric?

zav818 karma

This rhetoric is a little ridiculous because it makes it sound like theyre picking them up as shields to take bullets.

But Ive seen rockets fly from crowded cities, thats pretty bad. Although the whole place is very populated there arent many non crowded places.

Aerodust6 karma

How long do you think this will continue?

zav825 karma

Until Hamas and Israel learn they both have to give up something in an agreement.

AKaaban5 karma

What would you say Israel would have to give up? Would opening up borders or supplying adequate water to Gaza be an option?

zav87 karma

Well thats going to have to happen at some point. Probably some sort of demilitarization or change of power. You have to remember these tunnels and missiles are a real threat, even dating back to the kornet missile on a school bus.

AKaaban10 karma

What about access to Jerusalem? The Holy site of the Muslims is there, and it would be cruel to not allow them to access the 2nd holiest Muslim space, when it was their home only 60 years ago. I hope this happens, it doesn't seem to be in Israel's plans though. I hope the Palestinians can live as free people in livable conditions. I would presume there would be a lot more peace in the region if the people had a vested interest in their lives and had a reason to live.

zav88 karma

I hope they can find a solution that would include both people going to holy sites in each others countries.

AKaaban4 karma

What about a 1 state solution? Are you opposed to all the people living in peace under one rule? That way there would be no land grabbing or taking others homes. There also would be no issue with checkpoints and preventing Palestinians from accessing hospitals and mosques and visiting relatives.

zav810 karma

Ya I'm opposed. I know it's not goomg to be a popular answer but I really do want two seperate countries. I like living in a jewish country where were a majority. I dont think nonjews should be treated any differently though.

I would happily go back to '67 borders with land swaps here and there for certain settlements and to possibly expand Gaza. If it doesn't happen soon though wel probably have one state where everybody should be treated equally.

inFeathers2 karma

Thanks for the Ama. Very interesting.

Why is it important to you to live in a Jewish country, or a state where yours a majority?

zav83 karma

There's a different feeling living somewhere where you are a classified as a separate group of people or being like everyone else. It's also much easier when the culture of your country is the lifestyle you live by.

It's weird and I know not what people would expect to hear from an level headed person, but it's the way I feel. If it can be done where that's the case, and all minorities still have equal rights then that's what I support.

DRKMSTR4 karma

Not to butt in, but didn't Israel already offer such things? Back in 2000 they offered to give massive amounts of land and even then they rejected the peace proposal and continued to send large amounts of suicide bombers as a response.

zav89 karma

They offered only part of what was captured in 67 and not full state rights to the palestinians. Sharon pushed for those talks to fail and we ended up nowhere.

AKaaban6 karma

zav8 thank you for answering questions honestly. A lot of the Zionists here like to argue the Netanyahu talking points which are so off base from reality and untrue, and I appreciate your willingness to answer questions honestly.

zav84 karma

You're welcome. And thanks for this too. Its a lot better than the hateful questions I was expecting more of.

avolodin0 karma

As far as I understand (correct me if I'm wrong), Hamas's stated goal is the destruction of Israel and killing of all jews. Do you really think they are ever going to agree to a compromise?

zav82 karma

They're going to have to. Fatah did so I believe Hamas can as well if they have something real to gain out of it.

Shouldbeworking226 karma

Do you wish you would have stayed in the US? if you could have...

zav816 karma

I technically could have if I wanted to alone and all, but I do truely love being here. I went to visit since moving here and wasn't so happy. In my oppinion if there wasn't all this bullshit going on here, it'd be paradise and heaven on earth.

Shouldbeworking227 karma

favorite part of Israel?

zav869 karma

The women

breheme6 karma

First of all thanks for taking the time to do this. Do the fighters in this conflict (in either sides) see this as a religious conflict or the hate for each other is so ingrained that it doesn't matter anymore?

zav815 karma

Most Israelis I think are atheist, yet see it as the palestinians being religious fanatics.

shenzhuxi2 karma

What about people in the israeli government?

zav82 karma

The knesset (our parliament) is filled with many different people. I'm sure you can find atheists there. I wouldn't be surprised if netanyahu and other prominent figures are too.

ntheg1111 karma

Most Israelis I think are atheist

Most Israelis are secular, and most Israelis are religious to very religious.

This is not a contradiction: In Judaism, like in Islam, religiosity is measured for the most part by orthopraxy (actions) and not orthodoxy (believing or claiming to believe, like the case in christianity), so the definition of "religious" in Israel means something very different in America.

Most israelis who identify as secular believe in god and follow tradition: If someone in the US says he believes in the divinity of Jesus Christ, he is considered religious, even if he doesn't go to church on sundays. In Israel on the other hand, you can say you believe all you want but are not considered to be religious (דתי) unless you practice religion (i.g prayer, keeping kosher, observing the sabbath, fasting, etc)

So while by Israeli standards, the majority might be called chiloni (secular) but by standard definition are very religious.

zav81 karma

But mant are atheists. At least of my friends, many simply don't believe in God.

smorges6 karma

Is it true that Hammas was planning on sending 200 terrorist through the tunnels on Rosh Hashonah to massacre Israeli villages near Gaza?

Is this why the operation can't stop now until all the tunnels are destroyed?

Do you think all the tunnels can be found and destroyed?

What's to stop Hammas just building more after the offensive ends?

zav814 karma

Thats what they say. I personally believe hamas wanted to take over the army bases in the area and hold civilians in the kibbutzim hostage to release prisoners.

Thats why this operations going on for so long. I doubt they can ALL be found, but this is just holding them off until they find some defense system for the tunnels.

When we were digging on the isrseli side to find the tunnels they would shoot at the driller. In the meantime its the only REAL weapon theybhave against us.

Edved1 karma

Is it possible they were intended only for gathering supplies and became militarised once Protective Edge was going on?

Am playing devils advocate - I've read this but looking for something that can't be so easily dismissed as propaganda.

So removed from the conflict sorry it's hard when you're far away and all you have is news/reddit/facebook/family/friends

zav83 karma

That is propaganda right from the source hahaha.

But I don't think it's so possible. When they come out of the tunnels their chance of being spotted is pretty high, it would only make sense if it was to kidnap people/soldiers, take over a military base or take over one of the villages nearby. I don't even know how one would come out on the Israeli side, find supplies and bring it back. It would seem too much of a risk and jeopardize the tunnel and Egypts a much safer bet as the people would sympathize with them possibly.

I know from my mandatory service they had told us Hamas was planning on using multiple tunnels at a time to do an attack in Israel. It may have only been built in case Israel was to attack they would attack back on Israel's territory but I don't know.

Spectre506 karma

Have you actually seen the Hamas tunnels in person?

zav818 karma

Yes. I dont know about now but one of them was even open for the public last october. Theyre very impressive. I didnt believe it when I saw it on the news at first. Theyre fortified with cement and even have power cables and phone lines running through.

_Kwisatz_Haderach5 karma

How does the average Israeli citizen feel about the USA and it's role (or lack thereof) in this conflict? I've recently read articles about Israel's Prime Minister criticizing the US government for not aligning with and supporting Israel more fully. Is this a common feeling in Israel?

zav810 karma

Most Israelis just don't understand what else would be expected. Most countries wouldnt allow tunnels and rockets to their country and feel they were pulled into this by Hamas.

With the US they also don't understand how a country that invaded Iraq would tell them they should stop when ceasefire after ceasefire was broken by Hamas. I understand it's because all the deaths but they all view that as an unfortunate circumstance.

YagoJago5 karma

From what I've read this war is extremely popular in Israel. Why would you say this is the case? From my perspective (U.S.) it's hard to see what Israel's end goal is... More perpetual war and breeding of hatred on both sides seems the likely result.

zav816 karma

Because of the rockets and threat from the tunnels. Israelis dont see an occupation in Gaza and want the rockets to end. They think the government did everything to prevent it with the ceasefires (they dont realize it was started when netanyahu rearrested the shalit prisoners and just didnt expect such a strong reaction).

AussieTerry5 karma

Do you prefer Kebabs or Souvalaki's?

zav821 karma


NoMoreLurkingToo5 karma

Souvlaki is made of pork mate...

WogButter2 karma

We're all about the lamb in Melbourne, Australia.

zav82 karma

Lamb souvlakis the way to go

yaarsala5 karma

Do you understand why Gaza is struggling with the blockade though? They literally have no way out with blocked borders in Israel and Egypt, they are literally trapped, tunnels are their only way out, of course the violence is not justified but why even consider it a 2 state solution when Gazans are trapped with limited resources in Gaza and no border to go elsewhere? also, the US seems to be ignorant about the iron dome that we have paid for. I was in Israel this summer, there was no sense of urgency or worry about rockets because people were protected by the iron dome. This war seems extremely one sided when more details are releases. I'm just curious of your perspective.

zav810 karma

The iron dome is incredible, but those rockets really are a life threat. People still get killed from them.

The tunnels into israel are also attack tunnels. The ones to egypt are lifelines, totally different.

About the blockade you are right. I understand that the average Gazans life has been ruined by it. Another solution needs to come because it is choking those people in a very small and densely populated place but many attacks have come from Gaza and more weapons there would be terrible. The iron dome doesnt protect from mortars and laser guided missiles coming from Gaza and thkse have also caused deaths and damage in the surrounding villages.

onthelongroadtoruin4 karma

How can you justify the bombings of UN hospitals in Gaza?

Israel have an incredible amount of fire power and defence systems, while HAMAS have relatively weak fire power and resources, even the majority of the rockets fired into Israel are close to useless. Do you not think the Israeli response has been way over the top?

If you compare each sides death count, it's clearly one sided. Israel should be able to deal with HAMAS without bombing hospitals and schools, killing civilians and innocent children.

zav814 karma

I don't justify them, I feel hospitals should be a no-go zone. That means not shooting from them at soldiers and Israel being the bigger guy here and not getting anywhere near them.

I don't know how Israel would be able to stop the tunnels without all of the damage and deaths though. It's such a densely populated place. It doesn't make it right, but they built tunnels going into our country not to bring in food, rather to attack us.

I also don't know how you can do such an operation without that much harm. I wish we knew, but the average soldier, who's actually going in isn't an incredible soldier. The technology and strength doesn't give them that ability. A person who's put in that situation in scared and wants to come out alive.

Also, if we didn't have a missile warning system, bomb shelters by law in every house and the iron dome it would be terrible casualties here. I really do feel the government here cares about their civilians more. I wish hamas had built underground bunkers to protect the people instead of tunnels into Israel.

AKaaban3 karma

There are many reports by Amnesty and other human rights groups that say Gaza will be unlivable by 2020, what will the solution be then, when there just isn't enough room for people or resources for them. When the water supply and sewer system are at maximum capacity.

zav88 karma

I don't think its even livable now to be honest. An agreement with free travel to the west bank is the only solution. Maybe a tunnel road from Gaza to there.

onthelongroadtoruin1 karma

Thank you for answering.

I feel even if a few HAMAS soldiers fire from a hospital, as wrong as that is, because THEY are putting civilians at risk, responding by bombing a hospital is an out of proportion response.

From seeing your responses to other questions, you seem like a very level headed, educated and peaceful person. I respect that, but am I right in saying the type of person you are in the Israeli army, is in the minority?

The problem is that it is a densely populated place but I feel that if Hamas had built underground bunkers, 1) They wont be as protective and safe as yours ans 2) I still think Israel would try to bomb them and justify it by saying HAMAS soldiers are inside.

You mentioned the average soldier in Israel is not an 'incredible' soldier and this is why conscription is a bad thing. You want people to join the army because they want to fight for their country and that they understand the risks, placing an average citizen in the army with little to average training is a recipe for disaster, all it takes is one scared soldier to fire one bullet to cause international outrage and escalate the conflict further.

A good example of this is with the Crimea incident with Pro-Russian rebels, a few guys firing shots came very close to making the situation 10x worse (but that is a completely different topic, i'm not comparing the conflict, just the type of soldier that isn't prepared, trained and educated enough to be in any sort of conflict like that).

zav89 karma

After training with foreign militarys i think that a non conscription army would be worse. It would be filled with people who rape and urinate on bodies. In basic training people were kicked out of combat roles and imprisoned for just joking about that.

Its special forces that wouldnt be scared, I think to fix that the training needs to be better.

Also our bomb shelters are less protective then the tunnels or wed blow the tunnels up from the air. It could be done with the UN or another force and would intercept damage from errant bullets and mortars, which is A LOT.

zav82 karma

Also I wouldnt say Im the minority in combat roles.

AKaaban4 karma

I sincerely appreciate you answering questions. I want to know, in your heart of hearts do you believe you are on the right side of this conflict and that Israel is on the right side of this conflict?

zav86 karma

I don't think its about right or wrong. I believe Israel deserves to exist, I just think it needs to in a more humane way.

Both sides "have done fucked up bad". It needs to end on both sides.

I believe in the state of Israel and am happy here.

Ridi9873 karma

I'm reading these comments and my ears are turning inside out. Everybody here seems to be asking same questions of this soldier and that question is : do you feel bad about innocent people dying ? He can't say YES enough. He's a normal person as are ALL Israelis. The stupidest question is about morality: This person is a soldier, he has his orders, this is an army not elections of school president.

Personally I'm very proud of every single IDF soldier on duty protecting the people of Israel . Germans elected Hitler and paid the price. As people, as a country (literally paid monetary reparations ) and in a lot of other ways, so as long as you have radicals in power enough will never be enough, and there will be no piece (except to re-arm or regroup) unless citizens rise.

That being said

my question: as any normal person in this world should u don't like war and death, however, in the current context: do you think has HAMAS was not in power, would there be rocket fire ? Tunnels? And this entire current conflict and destruction ?

Was there no camp David? We're concessions NOT made when appropriate people were in Palestinian government?

Question 2:

Does it not feel to you that this entire conflict was concocted by HAMAS and such , to make Palestinians bigger victims this time? To receive more favorable treatment ? To make international community dislike Israel ? So Palestinians as "victims" receive more support as well as financial because of this campaign? The shielding by civilians? The hiding of weapons in schools hospitals , schools and masques - as they are know not to be fired up by Israeli army?

Question 3: Israel borders gaza on 3 sides only, why is the 4th side not open?

Thank you in advance, and thanks for coming back alive

zav87 karma

There was rocket attacks before Hamas was in power, so I doubt it. Although Hamas also did a lot to stop the rockets a couple years back. There will always be rogue people, they need a strong government and force there to stop them. If we had come to an agreement before it may not have reached this point.

I dont know if Hamas would do that. Its possible but very cruel. They already have support, if they wanted more they would have abided by the ceasefires (especially the final 72 hour one) and not hidden rockets in UNRWA. They may see every civilian death as something they can use in the political arena though.

Their dirty tactics of hiding tunnels and weapons in mosques is bad, yes, but I wouldnt expect any different. When the underground forces before the establishment of israel functioned they did the same.

Egypts current government hates Hamas and could care less what happens to the palestinian people. You hear a lot of complaints from Palestinians about Sisi lately online and such.

AKaaban3 karma

If Israel stops occupying the West Bank, will they remove the settlers and return land and homes to the Palestinians? Also, do you think Gaza will ever be free of Israeli control? Will they ever control their territorial water, air space, and borders?

zav84 karma

Well 2 of 3 borders are with Israel so they wont have full control. But one day they will have to. It can't last forever.

I dont know if they will leave settlements or not but the right purposely supports the settlements so it will be hard to bring them up in negotiations. It will have to be addressed one day, I just don't know what the outcome will be.

AKaaban4 karma

Do you personally feel the settlements are unjust and that they are counterproductive to peace? Because there is no peace with injustice, and it is unjust to take another's home and land?

zav89 karma

They are unjust and counterproductive to peace, I agree with you fully.

Heyyapper5 karma

Just curious, why do you think the settlements are so unjust? I understand that you think the settlements are counterproductive to peace, but just like the Palestinians, the Jews also lived in that region for years upon years. So why are jewish settlements unjust, as they have just as much claim to that land as the Palestinians? And also, isn't like 80% of Jordan Palestinians because that Jordan was originally also called Palestine? Not to sure about that whole thing..

zav811 karma

Because the settlements are on land that the palestinians can't live on, and where Israelis live. If the settlements allowed palestinians in, and they were afforded equal rights then it wouldn't REALLY be an occupation, rather an annexation. I think annexing land isn't too bad because you make those people equal citizens, but the people here are afforded completely different treatment. Its as if Israel just builds inside of land that they admit is palestinian, and then says it now belongs to Israel.

Heyyapper1 karma

I understand where you're coming from saying that its not right that a Jew can live in a west bank settlement and have Israeli citizenship while a Palestinian can't, but on the other hand, that same Jew can't get Palestinian citizenship or even go to a Palestinian settlement in Area A, bc it's illegal for him to do so.

So I'm still not sure why it's unjust for Israel to build on land that never belonged to the Palestinians in the first place. I get the whole not conducive to peace, but still don't see what is morally wrong with building on that land.

Sorry if I'm bugging you, I'm sure u are answering a billion questions here. Just trying to make this thing make more sense.

zav810 karma

Simply put it leaves inequality for both sets of people. Its not just the settlements, which actually harm growth of palestinian villages and cities, but all the militarization and harsh treatment that comes along with it.

It also never gives the palestinians a chance to have their own state. They are stuck with land that has beautiful villages popping up all over the place that they arent even allowed to get near just because they dont hold citizenship. Its as if new york was to take over new jersey and build cities that only new yorkers can live in, and then they cant enter New York without special permits it would suck.

Some people don't see an issue with it, but most people in the world do and obviously the palestinians do, as do I.

TheCursedOlive3 karma

What is the general opinion of an Israeli solider regarding the morality of what's happening in Gaza?

zav87 karma

Most soldiers see it as shameful but a necesity with the rockets and tunnels and that the deaths are a very unfortunate circumstance. Maybe the young and childish soldiers want to fight but most just want the attacks to end.

Maargt3 karma

Hey to you (I don't know your name). I like your initiative, I wish more people could do that, including people living in Gaza or in the West Bank. When people ask you about the reasons of Israeli military operation in Gaza, you say that it's because the Hamas threatens Israeli lives, because of the tunnels and the rokets. How far is this threat real or exagerated? According to the Israeli government, the thousands of rokets have killed 14 Israeli since 2001. Do you agree with that? If it is true, of course it is too much, but the threat seems really thin though.According to me, the lives of Israeali are more threatened now because of this attack, because the desire of sending rokets and build tunnels will raise in the gazaoui population and because the soldiers are more exposed to death in the field now. And another question: what are the consequences of the blockage for the Gazaoui population? Thank you so much.

zav812 karma

With the missile warning system and the mandatory bomb shelters the threat is very small. I saw a house hit in Sderot a few weeks ago. The woman and her kids in the house were safe, but only because they had 15 seconds to get into the shelter, the living room they were in was gone and the gas from the kitchen set it all on flames. The iron dome has prevented more property damage while the warning system has saved lives. If we didn't have them then it would be a MUCH bigger threat with more deaths. The tunnels are a big threat because they're designed to send as many fighters as they want into Israel to take over the villages here. That's why people are so much more scared of them.

The consequences of the blockade to my knowledge is this situation we're in now. Gaza's unlivable and willing to fight to the death.

War isn't a solution that will hold. Hopefully they will realize this soon

AKaaban3 karma

When you see Gaza in shambles and see that hundreds of thousands of People have no homes to return to and that over 10,000 have been killed or injured, do you feel that is justified? Do you fear those who have suffered will have animosity towards you and Israel? How do you expect these people to live when this operation is over? Where are they to go?

zav88 karma

Of course Im upset by it, but I really dont know what a normal response would have been to the tunnels and rockets. Of course those people will have animosity towards Israel, its terrible.

I really do think israel cares more about its citizens (and all citizens, druze and christians too, sadly not palestinians) more than Hamas does. Those people payed the price for something that's not their fault.

What would be a good response to a government shooting missiles and mortars at your country and capital (even with the defense system you cant just let that happen) and militants sneaking in through tunnels and even scuba diving in by sea? Other than giving into demands right away. I wish none of it ever happened.

It really is devestating what the Gazans are out through though, youre right.

cnzmur3 karma

Hi, I was wondering what the 'ground offensive' looks like from your end. What have you guys been doing the last few days? I'm asking because what I see on the news is mostly Israeli shelling from outside Gaza, or bombing, so I'm fairly unclear about what you personally would be doing. Does it involve actually going into Gaza much, how dangerous is that, and what would you be trying to achieve? Sorry if all that came across as rude or anything, I just don't know much about this bit of what's going on.

Lastly, I can't say I really agree with much your government's done for a while, but all the best, and hope you're alright.

zav82 karma

I actually was discharged yesterday from reserves and am with my family, but the ground offensive was only to clear tunnels going into Israel, the shelling are responses to rocket fire.

Now were pulling out all ground troops, but when we were doing operations in the strip I went in as well. It involved finding tunnels and exploding them. Most of it was met with much fighting and resistence from Hamas fighters.

cnzmur3 karma

Ok, thanks for answering. Do tunnels usually start inside buildings or where?

zav83 karma

Usually building or farmland. They have to do it somewhere out of view or Israel would know exactly where they start. There are cameras all along the border and even on blimps to catch this from happening, but Hamas has developed tactics to hide them from sight.

darksparten3 karma

Have you used both the old M16A1 and the new Tavors? Whats your opinion on them.

Also, how is the Tavor replacing the M16, by division or battalion or what?


zav83 karma

When I drafted I only used the Tavor, only shot an m16 a few times. Not all brigades want them, But so far they're coming in well. I liked the micro-tavor. It's a great and reliable rifle.

_5003 karma

Just wondering what type of fitness you had to have in order to serve in your role and what it required in terms of the level of exercise needed to build up to it? I imagine it would be very demanding / difficult for the average Joe to pass.

zav87 karma

You need to be able to carry lots of weight for long distances. In my mandatory service people were required to stay in shape, but less on reserves.

Imperator_Penguinius3 karma

You've mentioned god several times in your comments, I take it you're religious, then.

Something I've mildly wondered about for a while now (unfortunately it is also mostly irrelevant to the topic at hand, but I'm going to ask anyway), how common is being non-religious in Israel? How do they get treated, compared to... say, the more northern parts of Europe (France, Germany, British isles, Scandinavia, et cetera)? And compared to... the more religious parts of America? And any other comparison you'd care to make, if you want/if neither of those options is familiar enough to you to make a reasonable comparison.

zav810 karma

I wouldn't be able to compare it to amlnywhere really.

Most jews don't see being jewish as being involved with a religion, rather as being a natonality and something your born into. Even in the US people say they are "half jews". I never understood how somebody can be half of a belief.

zav88 karma

Most people are not religious here. It also depends how open or close minded you are and what you do with being religious, but in most places youre probably treated better being secular.

Imperator_Penguinius3 karma

I should've worded my question better, I mean atheists and such who literally do not believe in higher powers and things like that and, not necessarily people who believe in a god but don't strictly follow all the religious things strongly religious people follow (I'm not entirely sure what those things would be, though, my knowledge is somewhat limited on the details of various religions, given my lack of personal experience with any of 'em).

Thanks for the response, though, it did answer a large part of my question despite the fact that I worded it rather poorly.

zav87 karma

I dont know of them being treated any differently. Many of my friends here are, and theyre treated like any other secular person. It may even be the majority if not close to it.

Axel9273 karma

Thanks for taking the time to do this!

What are the chances, do you think, of the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority sitting down together and saying, "Look, we can both agree that Hamas is bad for the Israelis and Palestinian people," and working together to de-legitimize and eliminate Hamas?

Additionally, are there any changes you would like to see in Israeli government - politicians who need replacing, parties that need to come to power, etc? Do you see those changes happening in the near future?

Stay safe out there! Toda v'behatslacha!

zav83 karma

I think it may happen behind the scenes, but wont be succesful. Israel and Fatah need to include them in order to achieve a real agreement.

artichokess2 karma

hey there. i'm an america to israel immigrant (without israeli parents) that served in a combat unit after immigrating 7 years ago, but today would refuse reserve duty. i've been reading a bit here, and i'm really glad that they chose someone thoughtful like you instead of a hasbara robot. it was enjoyable to read your often unexpected answers and imagine those who see israelis as a specific type confused and squirming in their seats. we have a lot in common in terms of our political views, but we come to different conclusions. ok...an actual question is coming, i promise.

you are taking part in violent action against a cause you somewhat believe in, and this baffles some of the people here. you seem to justify this position by stating that immediate defense is your main priority, even if the events and situations leading up to the war are the results of policies of your country you don't agree with. my question is, what do you think are the long term effects of this war? do you think that the "immediate defense" that marks israel's policies is working well for it so far? how do you think the palestinians are going to react to it when the dust settles? do you think that they will put israelis in a position where there will be more to defend them from or less?

maybe some of my questions aren't 100% pure. :). maybe we could talk sometime, at least partially because i want to understand you better

zav81 karma

Would you refuse miluim in every case or just in this current one? I'm surprised because more Israelis are supportive of this as they see the rockets as an immediate threat. I would love to hear as well is all.

I think the long term effects are a tarnished public image for Israel, less public support for Israel and more animosity coming from Palestinians towards Israel now. The short term can hopefully be quiet in the region. War is rarely a real solution and hopefully members of Knesset today realize that. It can only be, in my opinion, to clear the immediate threat facing us today and get to the negotiations as quick as possible, that will be the only thing that can actually work and give us what we need. As you know, Israel doesn't want its civilians being killed. When the commandos came to zikim, or the fighters came through tunnels people were VERY scared, I don't know if they could have just waited on it without a major attack inside of Israel, which Hamas seemed to really be seeking, happening.

To be honest I'm also really scared that this whole summer, with the kidnappings and Bibis false hopes and allegations, and then the Israeli revenge killings and everything coming after it, including this war, is going to lead to a third intifada. Two terror attacks happened just yesterday, they are pissed. It seems Abbas doesn't look too good to the Palestinians and they may be fed up very soon the way things are looking. I hope very much it's not the case, but it might be the reaction.

artichokess2 karma

i question whether reacting to an immediate threat is the right choice when your reaction to that threat will result in a greater threat towards you in the future. we can't just think of those being threatened now; we have to think of those being threatened in the future by what will grow as a result of our actions. that is the selfish side of things - the unselfish side is obviously the terror that has been brought upon azza.

i don't see the long term implications of this operation as being in israel's favor. we have only given more reason for sorrow, hate, and revenge, just like every operation before that. we have raised another generation to hate us even more. by not focusing on a political solution through diplomatic means, we are adding to hamas' (or whoever will take their place) ideological power and its threat to us. we might be saving a few israeli citizens in the immediate, but we are exasperating the situation and moving in a direction opposite of peace, which would bring real security. if we know that peace is the ultimate security, then why not focus all of are efforts on that instead of dealing with what is basically a symptom, a distraction from the real problem.

zav82 karma

Ive said this before in my previous posts but I also agree with you. I think the immediate threat first needs to be taken away and then we have to reach a diplomatic solution asap. It only makes the palestinians hate us more aftet all this.

But the threat of the tunnels and rockets needed to be stopped first, and the Hamas wasn't open to talking or agreeing to preliminary ceasefires, so what other option was there?

artichokess2 karma

this is where we differ (but i think you got that)...i think that "taking care of" an immediate threat doesn't always take care of it, it makes it worse.

in any case, we say x, y, z needs to be taken care of, then we can stop bombing you. hamas says x,y,z needs to be taken care of, then we can stop bombing you. i just don't see how this will ever stop.

zav81 karma

It looks like now a period of quiet is starting, just like most of the time here is. Now the negotiations need to start and be taken seriously.

Jonnyg7982 karma

what is the mentality of the Palestinian people as we speak?

zav84 karma

Im not the best person to ask. Most palestinians see me differently they would anybody else.

That being said the arab mentality is prominent in middle eastern jews here. Its difficult for me to describe.

Jonnyg7981 karma

thank you for the reply. if you don't mind I have another question, does the army feel somewhat responsible for the civilian deaths going on in the gaza strip and I know it isn't just Israel's fault that hamas is to blame as well but reddit in /r/worldnews likes to paint an ugly picture of Israel and I want to hear it first hand

zav84 karma

What do you mean by "the army"?

When speaking about the operation with officers much higher up they always brought up that it's our responsibility to stop the rockets and tunnels and thats it. The average soldier is between indifferent and heartbroken.

We were also assigned to every battalion an officer strictly responsible to minimize civilian harm. It's hard to actually do it though, they have no where to go and soldiers dont want to die. The cases of just shooting innocent civilians is rare (Id be lying if I didnt think it happened in cases I dont know about) but they want to come out alive. Its also why so many cases of friendly fire exist. Everyones scared.

zav82 karma

What do you mean by "the army"?

When speaking about the operation with officers much higher up they always brought up that it's our responsibility to stop the rockets and tunnels and thats it. The average soldier is between indifferent and heartbroken.

We were also assigned to every battalion an officer strictly responsible to minimize civilian harm. It's hard to actually do it though, they have no where to go and soldiers dont want to die. The cases of just shooting innocent civilians is rare (Id be lying if I didnt think it happened in cases I dont know about) but they want to come out alive. Its also why so many cases of friendly fire exist. Everyones scared.

erty56781 karma

  1. Do you believe the US should be giving Israel a single dime? Why or Why not?

  2. Do you agree at all with the idea of genocide for Palestinians? If not what is your opinion of the Jewish leaders who have said such things?

  3. Given the history of Jewish persecution do you believe Israel's actions are at hypocritical?

  4. What is your opinion of the growing anti Semitism among the young, particularly in Europe?

zav83 karma

You're asking these questions to an average Joe israeli here.

  1. No, the US is in a financial crisis, I don't know why they're giving the world anything. That being said, they have investments in Israel that pays off for them, so that's good.
  2. I've repeatedly said that no, I don't. Any person who has preached for this shouldn't be in power as it's just furthering us from peace. I'm very opposed to Lieberman, Bennet and Netanyahu for saying such things. They're furthering us away from peace and the support of American leaders for them isn't helping either.
  3. They are. Todays a holy day where jews fast and mourn all the terrible things that have happened. It's hard not to see the comparisons and has to end soon.
  4. It's terrible. I don't know why people would equate all of one countries actions with people who don't live there and just share the same religious beliefs. These governments are required to stop it as soon as possible and make sure there people are arrested and charged as strongly as possible.

Edved1 karma

Hi zav8 big thank you.


...You've started to address it here and there but it's a question I've been wondering about for a while so wondered if you'd give it its own space maybe flesh out your thoughts a bit more if you have some?

So far from your comments:

1) Officers join each IDF unit to try to prevent unnecessary civilian casualties but these are only as effective as can be in war time situation where soldiers don't want to die.

2) Some kind of place of refuge for Gazan civilians that is actually outside Gaza. (israel? egypt?)

3) UN presence which (along with demilitarising Hamas) will give protection to Gazans.

4) Israel to destroy tunnels then gtfo of Gaza.

5) Hamas/Gazan authorities to invest in protecting their civilians more than attacking Israel (bomb shelters, not tunnels etc.)

6) {longer term} Two state solution so everyone can focus on building up their worlds and not fighting each other.

THANK YOU again for this thread.

zav84 karma

I really don't know, I'm just a 21 year old guy just out of the army throwing out ideas, I'm sorry.

The only thing I think will REALLY work is the last one on this list (where both sides really mean it and get down to the small details), which can be secured through a demilitarization and UN presence (I've said NATO a few times because I think this involves countries that are sympathetic to both sides and Israelis are wary of the UN since here it is perceived they allowed for a strong Hezbollah presence in south Lebanon).

The other ones are only in case of another armed conflict. Although we hope that wouldn't be the case. Even if the UN safe havens that were hit were built as bomb shelters and designed to hold more people it would help, as well as both sides somehow agreeing not to fight anywhere near it.

It would be great if other people can throw in ideas here too. The problem with any military operation is that when you train combat but non-special forces they work with large amounts of firepower. They're scared and shoot at anything and only want to go back home alive. The other best option if you ask me is civilians being cleared to Egypt or Israel (possibly even the west bank somehow), although I also don't know how well that would work.

It's a shitty situation. You could also not use as much firepower as an army does (Tanks, artillery, Air force) but that wouldn't fly by with Israel. It would leave soldiers in there practically helpless without all the other support.

Imaterribledoctor1 karma

The New York Times wrote a good piece a few days ago about how the barriers have separated Palestinians and Israelis so that they never see or talk to each other and it has made empathizing with each other that much harder.

Do you know any Palestinians? Do you have any arab Israeli friends?

zav82 karma

Very Good question!!

It's true that there are many barriers today and very little interaction between us. Although I'm sure it used to be different as some palestinians have commented here that they or their family are still in touch with Israelis they were friends with before the intifada.

To be honest with you, not so much. I know a palestinian from when I would speak to, and have met palestinians when traveling (they usually assumed I was american before finding out I was israeli) but those are under completely different circumstances. Other then that not really on any real personal level. My cousin who lives in a settlements family seems close with the palestinian who most of them trust to work inside as a handyman, but I don't know how much that says.

I do have Israeli Arab friends though. Surprisingly mostly from the army (Druze, Christians and Bedouins) and have been on hiking trips with arab Israelis and vacations that we've hung out, but not anybody (other than those from the army) that I hang out and go out with.

Hope that answer helps.

Filipino_Buddha1 karma

What's your opinion about this "war"? Do you think it's necessary in both sides participate in such acts?

zav84 karma

Hamas feels it's necessary to fight Israel for the blockade and Israel feels it's necessary to fight Hamas for the rockets and tunnel attacks.

My opinion is it needs to stop because too many people who just want to live their lives are paying the price instead.

GamesForGustav1 karma

Can you tell us what it's like on the ground? Like, are you going through areas with lots of people and raiding houses by night or are you generally avoiding people? What kind of areas are you going into?

How far from home are you? Do you get to go home at all? Do you have cell service while you're out?

I'm sorry if these are silly questions. It just seems like this conflict is so much in your back yard, it must be very erie.

zav83 karma

Im not currently in. I was called in as a reservist 3 weeks ago and released yesterday. Its funny that you say backyard though because I used to live 2km from the border.

We would go in at night and between 1 to 3 days each time. I never was in a place that was close to civilians although some of my friends are. They try to warn civilians to leave (problem is not many places to go) as to minimize casualties. When I got out I actually got to go to my old neighbors and rest on a bed, but we were all sleeping in fields in Israel away from the border or on bases nearby. Sometimes we would take busses from where we slept to go to the border and inside. This was all an hour from where I currently live in Tel Aviv. In Tel Aviv its as if nothings even happening, thats the erie part. Going home and seeing everythings perfectly normal. We mostly worked in beyt hanoun. A city in the north of the strip by the border. Sometimes to look for tunnels and sometimes to hold positions and watch out for fighters attacking our soldiers. Many of the houses had weapons in them, but they may have also been private rifles. My friends found masses of rockets and rpgs in some places.

SkeletorSwag1 karma

I have a friend that volunteered for the IDF. About 2 months ago when he came back to the U.S. he told me he loved his job and everything about it. Now he's fighting in the west bank. Do you think after all of this crazy stuff happening, will he want to come back? He's only 19 and from the U.S. Based off of your experiences will he come back scarred from his new experiences.

zav86 karma

I don't feel I was scarred by my experiences. I dont know about him.

American volunteers go into 3 categories usually. The ones born with dual citizenship who want to live here and be Israeli. The ones who feel it's easier to be jewish in Israel. And the crazy fucked up ones who have been brainwashed by the american propoganda machine already and usually but not always don't succeed in the army.

Its probably based already on the type of person he is and his values.

HoliHandGrenades1 karma

I understand and support the principle that Israel and Israelis have the right to defend themselves. Do you believe that the Palestinians also have a right to defend themselves? I am not referring to Hamas, but instead to the Palestinian populace of the OPT.

zav81 karma

The actual population of the palestinian territories? Of course. They have every right to defend themselves. The problem is that it's a vicious cycle of defense and revenge by both sides.

Roble011 karma

Far-right Israelis like to cling on to the saying: "one state for one people (jews)". As the prospect of a two-state solution become less and less likely how feasible is it for a one-state solution to work? In other words, how are Palestinians, whose land has been seized and houses dismantled, expected to live peacefully underneath the flag of Israel? Also, Israel likes to demand that Hamas and other resistance groups abandon violence and recognize Israel's right to exist. Why doesn't Israel recognize the rights of Palestinian people? Are moderate voices such as yours ever given opportunity in Israel, or do those that sympathize with the Palestinians pariahs in Israel?

zav82 karma

I'm sure you've read my previous posts so I'll keep it short.

One state wouldn't work the way these right wingers want. It would mean unequal rights and that would be an atrocity.

Israel should recognize their rights. I agree with you a hundred percent, they don't probably becuase they see them as being under the palestinian authority and justifying it by saying it's in self defense.

My voices are given a voice here. I have never been considered a pariah, just moderate and peace loving. This goes for my military service and civilian life. about 50 percent of Israelis agree with me even.

funnystone641 karma

Sorry if this has been asked before but what do you think about Iranians and the country of Iran? And what about the people of Israel, what do they think?

zav86 karma

I'm of half Iranian descent. My grandmothers from Yazd actually.

Iranians on a personal level are great people! Very different than Arabs though. Love the culture, love the food.

Iran as a country is a little different. I understand they still hate Israel for their role in supporting the Shah and all the BS netanyahu constantly sputes about the nuclear program, but seem to go to greats lengths to get to Israel, even if it means using palestinians or doing things to insult jews as whole just to make a point.

CisternaChyli1 karma

What was it like inside Gaza? I've been watching the videos that the IDF has been putting up on youtube; fascinating and scary at the same time. Was it true that pretty much every house in Shajiya was boobytrapped?

zav86 karma

It was hot, loud and all destroyed. Kind of hard to believe my old beautiful kibbutz was just a few minutes away.

Lots of Shajiya was supposedly. I wasn't there but my friend who was injured said it was, and Hamas' strongest battalion were the ones fighting back. There were many places that were booby trapped and had mines, and many that even had cameras linked to the bunkers so they would know where we are and how to attack.

CisternaChyli1 karma

That's where the APC broke down and then those 13 soldiers died :(..terrible man. Did you interact with any Gazan residents?

zav81 karma

Personally no, I was never within a hundred or so meters. Many people were but the army to some degree attempted to give them enough time to get out before troops came.

alexchacko1 karma

What do you think about the targeted killings carried out by the IDF?

When the leadership is completely destroyed and there is no organization, to whom does israel can or will negotiate for peace?

zav83 karma

The IDF claims to have stopped with targeted killings, although personally I think military leaders are fair to target even more then soldiers.

It looks like they want to negotiate with Fatah as they work more with Israel, personally I think they should negotiate with Hamas as well since they represent a lot of the palestinian population.