Generally, how would you describe the Jewish settlement’s attitude towards you? Really nasty attitude, I pretty much suffered there. Everyone there pretty much suffered from the Jewish settlement. On the one hand they would tell us: Thank you for protecting us, and the Chabad House guys would come and bring us popsicles, drinks, snacks to our posts. Coffee at night. It was really nice, but there were a lot of guys who, in principal, just refused to take food from them. Even in the Jewish settlement itself, on many Saturdays, they’d bring us lunch already prepared and everything. Some soldier came, took the plate and threw it into the garbage in front of them on purpose. Extreme incidents like that. And like, they had this side of being nice and saying thank you and blessing us and giving us food, but if we did something they didn’t like they would curse us and confront us. There was one guy who just came with a cable cutter and at the entrance to the post, the base has an electric gate, an electric iron gate that runs on an electric track with a button. There was one [guy] who lived in the neighborhood near the post who got pissed off when we operated the gate on the Sabbath. So he came with his cable cutter and cut the cable. The Sabbath protocol is that the gate is [only] for the passage of people and only if the front command squad [jeep] needs to go out, so they open and close it. He got pissed that we did it. He just came and cut it and then they called the police. They didn’t have what to do with that, they won’t do anything about it.
How do you explain that? He damaged an IDF post.That’s how Jews are treated, like, it’s the Kiryat Arba police. They know them (the settlers) personally, these guys. The police also go there, like, there are families who go eat with them. The Jewish settlement’s security officer lives in Hebron and he’s in contact with the police. I can’t explain it.
Tell a bit about what it means to have a neighborhood inside a post, how does it manifest itself?Not a neighborhood inside the post, just adjacent. And there’s this door, and now it’s gone; now you have to go around the yeshiva.
But during your time they did pass through?Yes.
How does it look like when they pass through?It doesn’t look good in any way and it’s pretty annoying. The kids would come to us, open the door to the rooms and go in, which was the most annoying thing in the world and there were some who befriended them and played with them and the families invited them to their house for meals. But a lot of guys got really annoyed by it. They’re little kids aged seven to 10, you can’t say: kid, get out of there. At some point there were outbursts directed against them.
Like what?Like, soldiers get off for the weekend, they do six-six (a six-hour shift followed by six hours for rest and other activities) or eight-eight, so for the six remaining, they sleep. Kids come and open the door and if someone there’s awake, they start talking to him. It’s the most annoying thing in the world. They just hang around you all the time?Not all the time. It was mostly on Friday. It was nice on Friday, Sabbath protocol, religious groups arrive bringing sweets, drinks, gifts, it was really nice. There were soldiers who got an MP3 players with earphones.
Just like that?Just like that. Or rich American Jews who just came up to a soldier: Soldier, do you want some money? There was a soldier who got almost 500 shekels.
He took it?No, he returned it later.
They would go around handing out gifts?There were some Jews from Oklahoma who came with personal bags of Hershey’s and shirts and lots of chocolates and lots of sweets, snacks.
And the soldiers took them?Yeah, of course, and they also took some for our friends. It’s the most fun in the world but lots of guys didn’t accept anything from religious people.
And all the officers knew about these gifts?Yeah of course, they would also take them.