I am open to absolutely any questions, and as long as this does not become huge I will try and answer everything, For the political questions please feel free to ask, but try to keep it far from a circle jerk as possible.

I served as regular infantry in an Explosives ordinance platoon from 2007 to 2010 was indirectly involved in Operation Cast lead back in 2008-2009, I spent a few Months in Hebron, 6 Months on the Gaza strip, and about 4 Months on the Lebonese Border. (for those of you Adding up... the rest of time was spent in training).

I was planning on posting a Link to My FB but decided I would rather avoid it in case my and Family/friends gets hassle.

So I will message the Mods to Give Proof.

[Edit] Holy shit this blew up, (Pun not intended)

Taking a break for Dinner, I will be back soon enough and try and get everything answered. Also just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time and posting interesting questions and for making this as enlightening as possible.

Taking a break for the Night.. I am tired as hell, hopefully work won't be busy and Ill get to answer some more tomorrow.

still answering questions, sorry for the delays on a lot of them there are loads so it takes time,

also a link to another AMA for those that are interested: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/wlz6t/iama_palestinian_who_witnessed_the_first_intifada/

I think I may have actually answered everything, no easy feat considering the number of questions. Thanks everyone for posting and the 99% who were civil and interesting and informative questions.

I think I may have actually answered everything, no easy feat.. Thanks for all the interesting and informative questions posted. For anyone who gets here late and still have questions feel free to post I will answer them as I get a chance.

Comments: 1135 • Responses: 50  • Date: 

doubtme269 karma

As a Palestinian it would be very interesting to hear what you have to say about the 6 months in Gaza. No time for circle jerking just answer honestly. And to anyone else reading this please for the love of all that is holy leave the pro and anti Zionist shit out of this thread and let the guy talk.

And for some other questions

  • Are you fluent in Hebrew?

  • What is the ratio between soldiers like yourself and the ones that were bred in Israel

  • Are you treated like a hero? or just another dude...

  • Whats the best thing you liked about it all and the worst thing?

  • Did you ever grace the prime minister with your presence?

  • Any regrets? And what are your proudest moments?

(really random ass questions, I haven't slept in over 24 hours and I have no idea what else to ask)

ilamaaa147 karma

"Are you fluent in Hebrew?" Yes,

"What is the ratio between soldiers like yourself and the ones that were bred in Israel" Ummm... hard to say in Combat it would be about 1-30 I would hazard a guess, In non Combat less than 1% non Nationals.

"Are you treated like a hero? or just another dude..." It depends on who, I would say about 50% like a hero and about 50% like any other dude. I personally felt the Hero thing was unwarranted. (the other soldiers I served with all treated me like any other dude).

"Whats the best thing you liked about it all and the worst thing?" Best thing undoubtedly was finishing, and the Worst 2 guys I served with committed Suicide (different occasions), which lead to difficult time for motivation and widespread depression.

"Did you ever grace the prime minister with your presence?" Nope, I was never chosen for those types of things.. Probably cause I am no Zionist and a bit outspoken.

"Any regrets? And what are your proudest moments?" Regrets, I don' think I did enough to try and about the Palestinian stand point, I always considered myself open-minded but I was never overly actively curious. My SO at the moment is writing a Thesis about Israel Palestinian Cinema as a Medium for for discussion and awareness, (bad translation.. she writing it in French) and I feel like if I had known before what I know now I could have made allot more of the opportunity. Proudest Moment, There were allot.. but probably just doing it.. getting it done with, I finished three long and difficult years and no matter what people think about it I am proud of that. (Ireland is very Anti Israel and not very well informed so not that many people I meet here have any idea why or what I did)

ilamaaa95 karma

Also thanks for the Question, This was the type of thing I was hoping for.

doubtme54 karma

You are truly a stand up kinda guy and your welcome.

Oh one more question

  • What is your current day job and do you like it?

And to add a comment about your SO I think its awesome, I wouldn't mind reading it when its done (using google translate)

ilamaaa66 karma

She said she would be happy to send it,

Currently I work for a Giant Corporation (probably should not mention) in Finance, Fairly boring Job but I get to browse reddit and the pay is decent,

I just got accepted to College in Israel and plan to go back next year to study... I don't have a third level education yet.. unfortunate bi product of giving up three years.

[deleted]10 karma


ilamaaa20 karma

Not security trying to avoid that cliché, I work a desk job, Revenue operations if that means anything to you.

panicduck19 karma

Liked your answers for this a lot. As a Canadian/Irish, I wasn't really aware of Ireland's standpoint on Israel. Can you elaborate why they are anti-Israel?

[deleted]27 karma

The Irish, especially northern Irish, feel very sympathetic to freedom-fighter causes as you might imagine. The IRA and PLO had a very close relationship and exchanged lots of training, tactics, weapons etc.

ilamaaa26 karma

interesting point, My security clearance was actually quite low for this exact reason... I did not mind Intelligence was not the direction I wanted to go anyway.

KennyLog-in165 karma

This user has verified his information with the mods.

ilamaaa47 karma

Thanks Kenny, Also I assume your User name is a reference to the "Highway to the Danger Zone".. Me and my friends named a drink after it.

2Rare2Kill13 karma


Also, you go into the danger zone, not vice versa. That said, recipe?

Edit: verse to versa.

ilamaaa12 karma

Jameson, Cranberry Juice and a bit of squeezed lime... named so because how incredibly fucked you get before you even realize you're drinking, (kind of like a depth charge or a land mine I suppose)

Pratchett120 karma

How does an Irish lad end up in the Israeli army?

ilamaaa143 karma

It is complicated, my Mom is Irish and my dad Jewish South African, They moved to Israel and I was born there. I grew up in Ireland since the Age of Six and so would definitely consider myself more Irish then Israeli.

I used to say after I finished secondary school (Highschool for Americans) I went on a three week rampage (sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll) and woke on a plane to Israel, but Honestly I have always considered myself to be Israeli too, and for me if you are Israeli, You do the Army.

I am not he type of person to let other people be put in danger for me or anyone I care about.

Kdnce37 karma

"if you are Israeli, You do the Army"


ilamaaa2 karma

It is how it is... don't like it but we live with it.

RaisingTheKnife22 karma

Irish and Israeli.. that's an awkward mix..

MorteDaSopra14 karma

What's awkward about it?

RaisingTheKnife55 karma

Well, from what I read, many Irish people support Palestine in the conflict between them and the state of Israel. Seems to be many movements that support Palestine and I've read a few articles about Irish leaders wanting to support Palestine for the UN. Then you have the incidents about the Irish flotillas sent to the Gaza strip to aid the civilians but were allegedly sabotaged by the Israelis...

ilamaaa18 karma

True story (I think)

zeppelinSTEVE45 karma

People in Ireland view the conflict between Palestine and Israel as having many parallels with what happened in Ireland with Britain. The Palestinian flag is a common feature at Republican protests.

ilamaaa12 karma

True I have been asked about this a few times and have written my thought on it elsewhere in the thread,

fluffyponyza11 karma

Move to South Africa! K that's all.

ilamaaa20 karma

I lived in SA for a while, Loved it... but don't think I could do it permanently, I felt much less safe there than in Isreal, also I love Ireland.

Ghost293 karma

Where in SA did you stay?

ilamaaa4 karma

Durban... right next to an amazing surfing beach, (probably had allot to do with why I loved it)

throwawayi9i99 karma

Would you join the Irish Army? And speaking of which, do you know how their Lebanon stint influenced their perspective on Israel?

ilamaaa13 karma

Ye I forgot about until you reminded me there... I considered joining the Irish Army cause I was unemployed and could not find a job for ages after I got back, eventually I lucked out when a company needed a Hebrew speaker.. I would not like to any more military service if I can avoid it but If I ever felt Ireland was in need I would step up.

Allot of my relatives were in the IRA going far back very far back.

mr-dogshit75 karma

Did you ever run around randomly checking everyone's pulses, and when they asked you why did you answer "to be sure, to be sure"?

ilamaaa71 karma

Yes, All the freaking time... We got bored allot.

I may as well correct it now, Yes, all the freaking time... We got bored a lot.


SMTRodent66 karma

What do you miss about being over there?

What were you very glad to encounter again once you'd left?

What most surprised you about your experience?

What met expectations?

Edit: why on earth would these questions be downvoted?

ilamaaa66 karma

"What do you miss about being over there?" The food, (not the military food but the civilian) Lebanese food is fucking amazing,

"What were you very glad to encounter again once you'd left?" Freedom!!

"What most surprised you about your experience?" dang... err allot, would be redundant to say the thing the surprised me most was how everything surprised me?

"What met expectations?" the heat... Fuck it is hot over there.

I don't know... have an upvote.

bizzish19 karma

Lebanese pride!

Also, I know you weren't there, but thoughts on the '06 war?

ilamaaa28 karma

Fuckfest, and not in a good way.

gerardc9954 karma

tayto or king?

ilamaaa132 karma

Is that a Joke, Fucking Tayto all the way!!

lemmingsoup33 karma

What is your opinion of the animosity between Israel and other countries in the region, how exagerated (if at all) is the animosity of the average civilian in the region in the western media's portrayal of the conflicts surrounding Israel?

Do you think that nationalism is inevitably a dangerous force in the modern world?

Should the UN feel obliged to intervene if Iran looks likely to become a nuclear power?

ilamaaa96 karma

The Animosity Is not Exaggerated but it is over simplified, The Average Israeli Does not have any issues with the Average Palestinian/ Egyptian / Syrian /Irani / Lebanese.. Everything is grouped which is what I think causes the Issue.

I will need a more specific question to go more into detail (there is too much hate to explain all at once).

Nationalism is definitely a factor, But so is Religion, Identity and History. As an Irish person it could get ostracized for saying this but I think Nationalism is a curse on humanity.

Should the UN intervene.. looking at it from their side I would say no... It is going to be a shit-fest over there that everyone should try and avoid. But since I am still in the Reserves and could get called up any minute... I hope they do, so I don't have to.


I'll preface this by saying I'm mostly ignorant about the situation with Israeli conflicts, so forgive any massive blunders.

I have a few friends who are very politically active and involved with Sinn Fein, though I'm not. I know they're wrong about quite a lot, but not sure about this. Basically, they draw parallels between the current relationship between Israel and smaller states (particularly Palestine) and the historically oppressive relationship between Britain and Ireland, and thus reason that Irish people should be anti-Israel. Do you think there's any truth to this?

ilamaaa22 karma

I touched on the subject when asked if I saw similarities.. and they do exist, But I think it is an overly ignorant reason to choose a side based on something so overly simplified....

LooseGambit30 karma

Pay rate? I'm in Israel from the Pacific Northwest currently and considering making Aliyah

ilamaaa43 karma

Pay is Shit,

[EDIT] I did not really give much info,

Your Basic rate is close to nothing, about $100 a Month if you are a Lone Soldier it doubles, and if you are Combat it doubles again which makes it not horrid but still $400 a Months is almost irrelevant. You can Mooch Money off a Load of Zionist Organizations if you want and it can add up and make your life easier.

Also your necessities are all covered, so 90% of what you have can be spent on Partying during you time off.

DownvoteALot20 karma

It's called service for a reason. You give them 3 years of your life.

I'll be beginning in a few months as a telecom engineer, I'm hoping to get the most experience out of this.

ilamaaa13 karma

Good luck!

effrum23 karma

Hi, and thanks for doing this AMA.

I'm also an Irishman and agree whole-heartedly with your sentiment that Nationalism/Patriotism is an arrogant force that generally causes more trouble than it's worth. Additionally, I have spent a large part of my post-graduate life studying and interviewing those related to the situation over in Israel. That combined with my familial ties to Judaism puts me in a position where I would not be one of the 'ill-informed' Irish that you speak of.

My question is short but complicated, I guess. Do you see any (perceptive) similarities between the Troubles in Northern Ireland and the situation in Israel/Palestine? Factors such as differing and combative religion; geographic discrepancies; historical context; issues of colonization etc.

Thank you again.

ilamaaa18 karma

A lot of my mates have actually brought this up with me before... after hours and hours all we could conclude is that there are a lot of similarities, but also so many differences that they could be compared but in no way taken in the same context.

[EDIT] Spelling

effrum2 karma

Thanks for the reply! I understand the deadlock comparison that it is and can be! As a sort of follow up, what do you think constitutes the Irish being mis/ill-informed when it comes to Israel/Palestine?

ilamaaa9 karma

Bad and limited Media Coverage.. also I kind of explained it earlier but it is a very Irish thing to support people because they need support as opposed to because they know what is going on and what type of support is needed,

drchow20 karma

What's the worst injury you've ever encountered?

ilamaaa36 karma

There was a dead Sudanese Guy whose Body we had to report, Shot to Shit by the Egyptian Military. I did not treat him, cause it was a good few hours after the incident.

Either that or a Suicide I guess it is a toss up.

Mikash18 karma

Did you serve in any other military to compare your experience with the IDF? My actual question would be if you feel that the majority of IDF soldiers treat the civil Palestinians with respect (as far as possible)? and if there are incidents, do they get properly addressed? I know bad stuff happens in any military I was just interested as IDF is proud of it's moral standards. I have Israeli friends but I always hesitated to ask this questions, as I didn't want to offend them.etc.

ilamaaa43 karma

It depends a lot on the situation... Known terrorists (freedom Fighters whatever you wish to call them) etc. get no sympathy, for the average Palestinian I like to think we do what we can to keep it Civil,

There are many cunts in the IDF same as in every other Military, In my experience there has always been someone decent around to Stop them and report it, Every fucked up incident that is reported will warrant a Court Marshalling and severe disciplinary action.

I served with one guy I fucking Hated, Basically someone was caught crossing the Gaza Border (for those who don't like the term border sorry) he was tracked down and arrested.. and we had to keep him on base until he was interviewed by the Israeli Equivalent of the FBI, this was a fairly common thing, and we went through the usual things, Blind fold and guard a bottle of water to drink from and an empty one to piss in and some food, (I know this sounds harsh but but it only for a few hours, and they can't know the base layouts), Anyway while we were waiting Mister X (the guy I hated) offered him a Chilli under the pretence it was a cucumber, I told him to fuck off and told my lieutenant, he was not court marshalled because nothing had actually transpired but he taken off all guard duties of prisoners,

(his brother was killed by a Suicide bomber.. just as bit of background)

[EDIT] spelling

ilamaaa17 karma

Forgot the first part of the question, No I only served in the IDF

Don't think I would ever undergo that sort of thing again, unless absolutely necessary,

Droi25 karma

As an Israeli.. you cannot offend us. We are probably the most direct and easygoing people there is. Ask away, nothing will be considered rude by a real Israeli.

tragic-waste-of-skin38 karma

That's a pretty bold statement. Most of the time say anything negative or jokingly about Israel or The Jewish people and you're automatically labelled an anti-Semite.

EDIT: I see the downvotes on my comment have already started.

But hey, this is Reddit. What more do I expect?

ilamaaa5 karma

Anti-Semite!!! (joking)

Zaiteria17 karma

What made you want to be a Combat Medic? Is it how you thought it would be?

ilamaaa26 karma

I originally enlisted as a Regular, or simple Soldier as we call it, and an officer offered me opportunity, and I could not think of a reason not to.

Honestly, Nothing was what I thought it would be

cheesefilleddog10 karma

What did you think it would be, and how did it differ?

ilamaaa18 karma

Thought it would be easier... did not imagine how difficult the training would be... I also kind of expected more interaction with Palestinians, maybe through by being polite and being nice it would make a difference, did not work out that way.

[edit] Spelling,

Calagan5 karma

did not work out that way.

Could you elaborate on that?

ilamaaa12 karma

Of the three years the only interaction I had with Palestinians,

were a few borders jumpers in Gaza, and 4 Months in Hebron, For those who don't know Hebron is not a simple place..

MollyCyrus2 karma

If you say the training was hard because they made you get fit even if you never ran in your life, its because when lebanon war 2 started alit of the soldiers were in a bad shape and it caused alot of problems, since then the idf tris to be 110% sure that everyone is fit, once a year there is a test that you need to run a few kms in the dunes, ho through an obstacle course and then shoot in a shooting range, if you dont complete it under some time (i dont remember which) you cant progress in the idf.

ilamaaa2 karma

Sounds like you got it a bit mixed up.. there are tests but slightly different to what you described, unless they changed it since I finished anyway.

discohitman16 karma

From what the media shows here in the states, there is a lot of unprovoked attacks on both sides at seemingly random times, given most of the states media bias I tend to take it all with a grain of salt (usually more). Do you think the media's coverage of the conflict is fair? Who, in your opinion, gives the most unbias and fair coverage of the happenings between palestine and israel?

ilamaaa38 karma

There is fucktons of shit to sift through to try and get anything with a semblance of truth, but I found the central to left-wing Israeli newspapers do a decent job sometimes,

A link to Haaretz who are generally ok: http://www.haaretz.com/

ke9ner13 karma

During Cast Lead, and your general time serving with other soldiers, did you sense an honest regard for Palestinian civilian life? From your standpoint, was the claim about human shields causing most of the civilian deaths legitimate or more of an excuse for the media? Do you think that Israel should let the Palestinians be and get out of their territories?

Thanks for your honest insight

ilamaaa15 karma

All my information about Cast lead is kind of second hand, but it would be more reliable than the Media as it was mostly from good friends who were there, there was definitely an honest regard Palestinian life, the human shields thing might be an exaggeration although I know it exists... I don't how publicized this was but I think it was 12 Israeli Soldiers were killed in friendly fire.. Cities and shit people get shot allot.

I think Israel should let the Palestinians be... Unfortunately I don't know what territories are theirs and otherwise, I think withdrawing from Gaza was a respectable start, I would like to be idealist and say it would be nice that Palestinians and Israelis could just live together, but unfortunately I don't that is possible for now,

[deleted]11 karma


ilamaaa6 karma

I don't know why your post was donevoted... But anyway thanks and good luck Man hope all goes well for you.

Afkbio10 karma

Do you know Krav Maga ?

ilamaaa21 karma

Yes.. Basic training I did a few sessions. It is not what you would expect is the easiest way to explain it to people.

doubtme4 karma

Video of what it is that I just looked up.

Any idea on how someone would learn this stuff without being in the Israeli army

ilamaaa17 karma

Non Military Krav Maga Is a completely different ball game, They have centers all over the world.. I am 99% sure that Vid was non military.

collynomial9 karma

Do you think there is an anti-Israeli bias in the Irish media/public sphere?

What sort of hassle do you fear your family and friends might get?

ilamaaa11 karma

Honestly not that much, Irish are lovely people as whole.. every now and again you get a dick head though same as everywhere, just though it would be best keep it anonymousish... everyone who knows me and reads this AMA will know exactly who I am straight away.

IDFguy9 karma

Hey we served at the same time! Which chativah were you in?

ilamaaa5 karma

Nachal, Good old green :P

LordOakfire9 karma

I have an uncle who is somewhat... religious and he has been to what he calls the 'holy land' quite often.

He stated recently that everything in western newspapers is all lies, and what actually happens when the IDF does an air strike or something is theat they warn the palestinian civilians in the area, who then place their children in the way of the air strike to then 'discover' the bodies for propaganda purposes.

Now I cannot for my life imagine that this is true, and my uncle is... peculiar, but I was wondering if the IDF does actually warn ahead when they do an air strike in Gaza?

In one of the other comments you stated that Haaretz is somewhat unbiased, but can you give an example of 'bias' in other western media (eg. BBC)

ilamaaa15 karma

I have heard there have been occasions where the AF drops fliers in areas the night before the air strike but eh I would be sceptical as to how detailed they are and how long before they are dropped, I have never personally seen one of these fliers.

As an Example of Bias I would say everything it is either it is backing the IDF or it is condemning it.. I actually stopped reading newspapers after an incident I was involved in was so badly interpreted by absolutely everyone... (I don't think I can give actual examples for the ones I would know of definitely I am not allowed talk about)

all_my_rage8 karma

I admire what you do, it must be tough dealing with some of the horrific injuries.

What were you fed and how good/bad was the food?

ilamaaa27 karma

Food was Shocking, I am vegetarian too... Which made allot more difficult to keep my strength up. But if you were a meat eater who ignored the taste... it was fine

cesog18 karma

:O You were in israel and you didn't eat tons of schwarma?


ilamaaa32 karma

Falafel is pretty damn good too,

cosmo_demonic7 karma

How does Irish culture/society compare ti Israeli? For example, how do members of these two societies feel about themselves? About others? Are the bonds between people, families, groups within these two cultures similar? How does the IRA/Irish independence and the Israeli need to assert its independence compare? Are there comparable myths, stories, etc. Anything else? Thanks for doing this.

ilamaaa10 karma

This is pretty difficult question, so I think the easiest thing to say is, two completely different worlds. One similarity I always found interesting though, is of all the countries I have been to Israel and Ireland were the ones I found it easiest to make friends (people are open I guess)

Mandrew3386 karma

This is a very interesting AmA. I'm finishing up combat medic training in the US Army, and am wondering what kind of injuries you most commonly ran across. We learn everything from chest needle decompressions to IV fluids and traumatic amputations, but we focus mainly on blast injuries and not as much on GSWs.

Also, if hypothetically (very hypothetically, lol) down the road after my term of servie in the US I wanted to serve in the Israeli Army- how receptive are they to new comers (specifically the US) that want to join and what is their basic training like/soldierization process?

Thank you for your time!

ilamaaa9 karma

Mostly I stuck people with IV's for dehydration... incredibly common, People don't understand that when you are in a desert you need to drink water???????

The IDF is very welcoming to American's there a huge number of you in the Israeli army at any given time, I would not recommend it though, shit man how much war can one guy handle?

Basic training is a Bitch.. Mostly fucking with your head, Imagine 4 months of having 20-60 seconds to do every single fucking task imaginable... Advanced training is more Physically difficult, and once you are assigned a Platoon between each deployment there is a 3-4 Months training which even harder again.

[deleted]4 karma


ilamaaa5 karma

It is fine for the long question, I whenever I try to simply the situation I always find I overlook major points,

Basically I have no idea, I see it as a toss up.. it can either go in the direction of Gaza being set up as a separate state more effort being put into ingratiation of people who live in the West bank, either through increasing the rights to the extent of having them Israeli Citizens or starting to pull all the Jews out of the West bank and allowing them to become a separate state too.... either outcome there are going to be allot of very pissed off people.

IYGFAA3 karma

Favorite type of music?

ilamaaa16 karma

Ska, (British and Jamaican Ska)

apologies if this offends anyone.. but the american versions of Ska I heard of were a basterdization of the Genre.

Big_Li2 karma

What's your religious affiliation if you have any? Also, why not join the Irish Army? You'd get sent all around the world on peacekeeping.

ilamaaa3 karma

My beliefs are agnostic, but my heritage is Jewish with a bit of Catholic (my mom converted).

I did not feel the Irish army needed me.

herpberp2 karma

what did you think of that Irish boat that was trying to deliver aid to Palestine through the Israeli blockade?

ilamaaa3 karma

I think if they really wanted to help it would have been allot smarter to try and go through the proper permissions... I think allot of these types of stunts cause allot more trouble than good.

Also I know bureaucracy is a bitch, but we all have to live with it.

viva_la_albert2 karma

What was the worst injury you've had to treat on the field?

ilamaaa7 karma

To treat, is kind of difficult to say,

I had an dumb ass soldier blow up a training grenade in his hand,

I had to scrape a parts of a guys head off the wall of a bunker after he shot himself.. but that does not really count as treating... so probably the first one.

Baystater1 karma

How does the experience of a Lone Soldier compare with a native Israeli's military experience? I have a few friends that will be going and I'm curious to what they will be experiencing. Did you come out jaded from the whole experience? Also, what was your funniest experience in the military? Keepin' it light. Thanks for the AMA

ilamaaa4 karma

I think the lone Soldier experience is a bit different to that of the average Israeli, I think it has it pros as well as its cons, The most part is the obvious stuff.. not having anyone to call when you are stuck, feeling lost and depressed at times, but after a short time you find everyone wants to help, people really appreciate what lone soldiers do over there.

Funniest experience, one of the funny stories I remember was not actually me but I thought it hilarious it was a prank some of the guys came up with.

Basically the biggest scariest soldier would go into a porta potty (kind of like the ones at festivals) near a checkpoint.. soon as a kid would come, One of the other soldiers would pick up a giant rock and throw at the porta potty, The Big soldier would come out looking pissed as hell... then everyone present would turn and point at the kid,

they would generally give the kid some sweets and stuff to make it up to him afterwards... the intention was that jokes be had all around.