Late afternoon, summer. I come home for a 24-hour furlough from miluim (reserve army service). As I have dashed from sentry duty to my car, I am shlepping my full outfit – vest with full complement of loaded ammo magazines, two canteens, steel helmet, and of course my weathered M16. Any adult familiar with the Israeli scene need only glance at me to see me for what I am – aging, non-combat duty, buck private, fatigues worn by generations, dead tired and dying for a shower.
The big yard in front of our apartment building is full of kids, shouting excitedly around the ice cream vendor’s van. An 8-year old neighbor recognizes me, peels off from the crowd and looks at me with eyes bright with admiration:
“Wow! You Golani or something?”
Golani being a crack infantry brigade in the IDF, I buy him a large cone.