Mark Hardie
Founder, Chairman, CEO of "The Taylor Swift Party" | Attorney | Army Veteran

Avengers: Iron Man in the Israel Defense Forces

Barack Mandela praying the “Sh’ma Prayer” at the Western Wall (Kotel) with an IDF soldier from the Givati brigade. (Barack’s Personal Collection)

This new series titled “Avengers” is about my service in the Israel Defense Forces. I served in three IDF units: Sayeret Golani, the Legal Unit (Praklitut), and the 7th Brigade of the Armored Division as a driver of the “Merkava” battle tank. This real life series is based on the Marvel Avengers films.

After packing up and leaving the Mihva Allon base, we are transported to the Tel HaShomer base near Tel Aviv. Here, we are to be selected into a regular IDF unit.

There is a small bungalow next to large metal bleachers in the middle of the base. The bungalow houses the katzin miyun (assignment officer) who will send us to our regular yehida or unit.

I walk into the office where I am addressed by the officer:

“So, you are from the United States?” he asks.

“Yes, sir, I am from California,” I respond.

“Why do you want to serve in the IDF?”

“Because I want to protect this country from terror,” I say strongly.

“You have a 97 profile, which is the highest possible profile. This means you qualify to serve in an elite unit,” the officer says.

“I am sending you for an interview with a secret commando unit called Sayeret Golani,” he concludes.

Soon I am hurried onto a military transport heading to Sayeret Golani’s main base. I am holding a kit bag, wearing army dog tags, a bulletproof vest, and holding high-powered binoculars.

Our transport speeds northward past towns such as Netanya, Hadera, and eventually Haifa. I feel as though I’m entering an the unknown—a secret world.

As I enter the base, I notice several soldiers with M-4 assault rifles walking around. They have 9-millimeter handguns locked onto their waists. This is odd to me, because I wasn’t given handgun training at Mihva Allon.

These soldiers are wearing dark sunglasses as if to obscure their identities. This gives them a futuristic, robotic look like the movie “Terminator” with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Also, their dog tags or ID tags are covered in black elastic known as “silencers”. These Sayeret Golani soldiers have a different look about them, an air of confidence.

After a few minutes, I am told to enter a small cabin. I open the wooden door and I see a muscular, tan-skinned man with light brown hair. He appears to be looking at a map of Israel.

“I have looked over your file and I notice that you have high scores on your IDF skills tests,” the officer says. “We are Sayeret  Golani, one of the most elite units in the IDF. We are highly trained, efficient, secretive, and effective. Do you want to join us?” the officer asks.

“Yes, sir, it would be an honor to join Sayeret Golani,” I respond.

I am then briefed on the operations of the unit. Secrecy is one of the most important values. There is a saying in our unit: “Elokim lo shomea”, which means “God doesn’t hear”. This means there are certain things that no one is supposed to hear or know. Some things must be kept absolutely secret. This confidentiality allows Sayeret Golani to protect the security of Israel.

Shortly after my acceptance into Sayeret Golani, I am transferred to an army base called “Bezek” near the Palestinian town Jenin. Soon, I head southward. Little do I know that a major firestorm known as the Second Intifada is about to flare up on all sides of the Promised Land.

I feel like Iron Man in the Marvel Avengers movies. We are like Avengers superheroes in the midst of a battle between Good and Evil.


About the Author
Licensed Attorney. I earned a Doctor of Law at the University of California Law San Francisco (Hastings) . I earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Riverside. I was an international student at the University of Costa Rica Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Law, and Bar Ilan University. I am a military veteran of the United States Army. I am a laureate of the National Defense Service Medal from the Pentagon. I am a financial donor to following: Harvard Law, Yale Law, Stanford Law, Berkeley Law, Harvard Divinity School, Yale Divinity School, UC Hastings College of the Law, UC Davis Law, Columbine High School, Choate Rosemary Hall, Phillips Exeter Academy, Sidwell Friends School, Viewpoint School, Beverly Hills High School, Eton College in the United Kingdom, Special Olympics, Children's Defense Fund, Obama Foundation, Clinton Foundation, Barbra Streisand Foundation, Princeton University, Florida A&M, Howard University, Spelman College, Morehouse College, and the British Red Cross. I am former special assistant and staff attorney to Governor Pete Wilson of California. I was public affairs assistant to US Senator Barbara Boxer. I was public affair assistant for Mayor of Jerusalem Ehud Olmert and Jerusalem spokesperson Haggai Elias. I am a former member of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. I am a member of the American Legion and Jewish War Veterans.
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