Army Fatigues: Joining Israel's Army of International Volunteers

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his first book, attorney Werner chronicles life in the Volunteers for Israel, or Sar-el, an organization in which people (typically Jews) from around the world volunteer to work on Israeli military bases, performing day-to-day tasks so that Israeli military personnel are free for combat missions. Werner gives readers an excellent on-the-ground, day-to-day view of life in Israel under the threat of terrorism, taking a dim view of Palestinians' moral authority. Though eye-opening in details large and small (Israeli soldiers can serve jail time if they lose their rifle), the reading gets vacation slide-show tedious whenever Werner spends time with Israeli relatives. Sure to appeal to ardent defenders of Israel (and just as sure to put off Palestinian sympathizers), Werner's account will also prove helpful for anyone considering a working vacation in the holy land.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934440087
  • Publisher: Simcha Media Group
  • Publication date: 1/2/2008
  • Pages: 279
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Preface     ix
Introduction     xiii
The Army Base at Batzop     1
At Home in Raleigh     63
On the Border of Gaza     69
Observing the Middle East from a Distance     125
Welcome to the Israeli Navy     137
On the Eve of the Pullout from Gaza     219
Return to Betzet Tira     225
Postscript     273
About the Author     279
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2008

    Volunteering to help Israel

    I was skeptical of this book at the outset. Having lived in Israel for over thirty years, I had the sense that a book about volunteers (often in the age of pension) who come to volunteer for stints of a few weeks could not be something very serious. I was wrong. Mark Werner in telling of four stints of volunteering he did at Army bases, and in one case at a naval base revealed to me yet another surprising and encouraging chapter in the saga of contemporary Israel. Werner begins by tracing his family background focusing on his father, who fought as a partisan against the Nazis. Werner tells of his unusual childhood growing up in an agricultural community in New Jersey most of the members of which were Jewish Holocaust survivors. He speaks of the Zionist education he received, and this certainly is central to the decision he made as a lawyer working in Raleigh , Virginia to volunteer for pro bono work in Israel. The progam he is a part of is called Sar- El. It involves people from all over the world coming to work at Army bases, doing repair and maintenance work which frees up soldiers for other duties. Werner says in the concluding section of the book that a major reason for 'volunteering' is to show the people of Israel that they are not alone, not abandoned, even when the world's media is distorting their story, turning moral reality upside down, and making them the 'villains' of the Middle East conflict. Werner also gives other reasons for the volunteering including the widening of his own personal world, the meeting many new acquaintances. There is too the realization of a long- time dream of giving something to Israel. The book itself is a delight to read. Werner's descriptions of the many different volunteers he meets , of the young Israeli soldiers who are often his guides are clear and interesting. The book is a kind of journal and includes also a picture of what is going on in the overall life of Israel at the time. It illustrates extraordinarily well the constant security challenges Israel faces. Werner himself appears as a very good and conscienscious volunteer, a hard and proud worker. He also in the course of his volunteering uses time - off to meet relatives he has in Israel, and tells their stories. Werner is an optimist, but at the same time a strong realist. If he sees sordid realities he frankly depicts them, and makes no effort at whitewashing them. Werner's strong and positive character shines through this work. His writing of this book is as I understand it a continuation of his volunteering and contributing to Israel. Reading this work I understand the debt of gratitude the people of Israel owe to volunteers and supporters like him.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2008

    Understanding Israeli Military Today

    A wonderful book. Not only is the writing lovely and flows easily, making it a pleasure to read, but it has truly captured the essence of the Sar-el army volunteer service experience. The book also provides a meaningful narrative of the timely issues in Israel's struggle to exist in a hostile world surrounding it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2008

    Excellent Overview of volunteering in Israel's Army

    The writing made you feel that you were actually there, particpating with the writer in volunteer efforts so critical to the Israeli Army. With a preliminary understanding of the author's connection to the Holocaust 'father was a survivor and freedom fighter' and an overview of what is actually happening today, you'll come away feeling more deeply involved in Israel's survival and the strength of its people. I hope there are more books to come from this talented writer.

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