Read part 1 here: I’m a volunteer in the Israeli Army

f someone had told us years ago that this is what our life will look like and that we will have all the experiences we have lived, we probably would not have believed it. In our trips to Israel we were blessed at each step of the way and we experienced so many moments that would have been impossible for us to program. The beauty of life has no limits when you have God on your side.

I always wanted to go to Israel (at least once in my life) and I always wanted to be part of the Israeli army, but I did not believe in that dream. It seemed too need to much “magic” to be accomplished. 

Now Israel is for me a second home. I think about this many times. We grew up with the Bible in our hands, the people of the historical army of Israel are the heroes of our childhood and their history is the one from which we learn and take the examples for everyday life to this day.

And yet, here I am!

Here I have had many moments where, fictionally, I was faced with choices difficult to accept, because you can’t turn around their repercussions. My perspective on life was challenged again. Even though I did not experience the decisions or their repercussions in reality, but only in this exercise, this whole situation helped me to shed light on some misconceptions I had about the human being.

All volunteers we were gathered around the round table.

We were dying to hear the continuation, but it seemed that “B” was not at all in a rush. He wanted to show us his thoughts from those 8 seconds and challenge us to make a choice.

(To make sense of the text further, if you haven’t read the first part yet, read it HERE!)

He wrote down on the board a few situations that revolve around the same principle:

  1. The train is coming and 3 people are tied up on the rail. You’re at the switch. You have the opportunity to change the direction of the train on another rail where there is only one man tied up to. What would you do? Would you change the direction of the train and let the man who was supposed to stay alive die or let the three die?

If you want a thought-provoking exercise that will challenge your life ideas, take a pen and a paper and write down your decisions. Also write down why you make the choices you make (before reading the next one;))

  1. The train is coming  and 3 people are tied up on the rail. You’re on the bridge with a fat man. If you throw the fat man in front of the train, he dies, but the train stops and the 3 people are saved. What do you do? Do you throw the man in front of the train or not?
  2. You are a doctor and a man comes to the hospital with an 80% chance of survival. You have 3 more patients with a 20% chance of survival who urgently need organ transplantation. If you take organs from the person with 80% chance of survival and you give them to the ones with 20% chance of survival, you save all tree of them. What do you do? Do you take his organs or not?

Before herding the explanation of “B”, Simo and I took the same decision. We would have both changed the direction of the train but we would not have thrown the fat man in front of the train and in no case we would have taken the organs from the man with 80% chance of survival.

“Why wouldn’t you throw the fat man in front of the train? You said you would change the train rail. What’s the difference, after all??!” “B” asked us, and then he went on to explain why most people think this way: throwing the fat man in front of the train involves touching him, this is why it seems inhuman. It’s much easier to decide who lives and who dies when you change the trail, because you only have to press a button, and that allows you to distance emotionally from your choice.

With all these examples in mind let us return to our story.

“B” notifies the captain of the presence of children in the area where the terrorists were. “You have 8 seconds! There’s nothing we can do now! Shoot!”

Every soldier knows his duty and every fighter understands what war means. Not to obey the orders of the commander and to allow the terrorists to fulfill their mission is practically treason. After all, what would be harder to bear? To allow people and children in your country to die or to press the button and shoot, leaving those children who were at the wrong time in the wrong place to pay the consequences of what their countrymen are doing , exactly the same way as you would press the button to change the direction of the train?

“Come on, you have 5 seconds left … 3, 2 …” It is quiet… “Did you shoot?” The captain’s voice from the radio station was heard again, but no response was followed. The tank starts going at full speed to the left. In those 8 seconds “B” came up with an idea of another possible solution, so he chose not to shoot! He took the tank to the area where he thought it was most likely for the terrorists to end up, considering the direction they started to go in. 

It would take them 5 minutes to get there and it would also take 5 minutes for the terrorists to cross the forest. To arrive a second later would have been a second too late. However, the tank is not a car so you can “stepped on it” in emergency situations; it doesn’t go fast. Every minute they had to travel a certain distance and the key to success was to constantly run at full speed. In those 5 minutes that probably seemed like 50 minutes long, they reached the spot they wanted and pointed the cannon of the tank to the forest.

Everything was so relative at this point and in the will of fate. They could only hope that those who wanted to kill their countrymen did not arrive ahead of them and that they followed the predicted path. Only a few seconds passed until they saw the terrorists … and fired!

Mission accomplished!

Soon we will go home too. Simo is fine with the idea, I’m not. I would like to stay longer. I’m often thinking about the army. How far away we were from the horrors of war, from such decisions; how relative the truth of many is and how many aspects there are, in fact, in each conflict. So many judge situations that they have not gone through and situations whose complexity there’s no way they can understand.

In Israel is war, but there is peace and in the IDF I have learned to value life. One day I will write to you about Israel’s controversies.

Let’s continue the conversation in the comments! Tell me, for example, if you were surprised by the end of the story or were you expecting it to end this way?

Thank you for reading !

With love,

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