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Purity of Arms

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The Long and Short of it  E-mail
by Leon Glasser - Efrat, Israel

Part of our Tironut training, in February 1957, was wading in the sea - WITHOUT getting one's rifle wet. We arrived at the bay, next to the Roman fortress at Caesariya and our Mefaked went into the water first, rifle above his head. He then summoned us to follow him in single file. First in line was Victor Net (from P.E.) a tall guy, about 6 foot 4. Last in line was Dov Cohen (from East London) a "shorty", just over 5 feet - (built for a scrum half).

As we went deeper and deeper into the sea, our Mefaked turned around to Victor (behind him) and asked - "hakol be'seder?"

When the water had reached Victor's waist, he replied - "be'seder", so deeper we went. After a while, our Mefaked again asked Victor - "hakol be'seder?"

By now the water had reached Victor's chest, so he replied - "be'seder". (No one realised that thi level had reached our necks), so (deeper) we went in.

Again our Mefaked asked - "hakol be'seder" and suddenly we hear-"gobble, gobble, help, cough, cough - I'm drowning!"

Those were the last words we heard from Dov before we schlepped him to safety on the shore! That's the "long and the short" of it!


Our Machlaka had chevra aged between 20 -25 years from Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, East London and me, from Boksburg. I had already qualified as a civil engineer. We made the life of our Memkaf Rafi (a sabra and a pain) - by playing Rosh katan - "Ani Gadol - Ivrit Katan - Lo Mavin!" On parade, the guys would make jokes in Afrikaans and pretend not to understand any Hebrew. This teasing lasted for about two weeks, until by surprise one morning, a new Memkaf- Baruch replaced Rafi.

When he asked one of us "ma shemcha?" The guy answered "my naam is domkop". We all burst out laughing, as usual. After a few seconds, Baruch retorted "ek sal julle wys wie die domkop is!"

In die taal, he added a few "vloek woorde" and then made us run around the soccer field, with "chagor maleh!"
We learnt that Baruch    was an ex-South African from kibbutz Barka'i, nearby. So that was that - " finished and klaar !"