Virag Gulyas
Non-Jewish Zionist, Common Sense Activist

I was recruited….to the army

I don’t understand. Sometimes I myself don’t understand why it hurts as much as if it would be my own country. But it does.

I have a ticket to Israel for August. I have planned it all. I have  all the new places I wish to discover. All the people I want to meet with. I even have a ticket for Shlomo Artzi’s concert. It took me three years to get one…

I was prepared for two weeks peace.
Yes, peace. Ironically, that is why I usually go to Israel, to get some peace; in and out.

I had my mind, body and heart set for my summer peace to my peace-land.

Some people argue that I am just too naive and wearing a pink glasses when I say: I just love Israel.
But I can firmly tell you: I don’t.

I have spent all together at least 4 months in the country. Traveled from up to toe, from right to left, from Kibbutz to Tel Aviv, from Rosh Hanikra to Eilat, from the sea to the Negev and on and on. I talked with young and old, rich and poor, 1st generation and veteran Israelis, religious and non-religious. I tried all kind of foods, I discussed all kind of topics, I learnt Jewish jokes, I let go of Jewish stereotypes. I learnt drawing Hebrew letters and pronouncing the first words.
I was there with my full mind, body and heart. I did not just visit Israel, I lived it.

And I fall in love.

Nowhere else I was welcomed with such warmth and honesty than in the homes of Israeli; even though I am not Jew myself.
Nowhere else I found such developments than in the cities of Israel;
Nowhere else I saw such strong ties and friendships than in Israel.

So yes, I have the tickets…

It was a week ago that while I was having my morning tea in my sunny terrace back in Hungary, my other half called me and told me calmly:
‘I was recruited.’

I did not understand him – (or rather I did not want to)

‘I was recruited….to the army.’

Though it was not the first time I heard this since we are together tears came to my eyes.

But I answered on pretended calmness: ‘so what’s now soldier?’

He told me the applying protocol. He, living outside of Israel, can stay out for now, until things don’t escalate. 

‘What does it mean ‘escalate’?’ 

‘Until there is no official war.’

‘So what until then?’

‘If I pass the Israeli borders I have to go to the base.’ 


…He had to go back to work so we finished here.

I sat back to my orange armchair, looked around in our bloomy garden and though I understood what he said, I cried.

I am a Hungarian, born in the communism but remember nothing of it. I grow up free and in peace. The closest I got to war was my own internal battles, but evidently that does not count.

He, an Israeli, born to a country, where sirens were part of his childhood, where he was taught how to put on gas-mask at the age of 3, where he knew where to run from the beach if he heard THE noise. Then, in the army, he was a high ranked person, he saw and learnt  a lot, was saved twice by his friends just on time… Then, he was recruited almost every two years due to arising situations. Until he left the country for a job.

He knows a lot. I don’t.

I never thought I would be in this situation. My boyfriend asked to go the army? How unrealistic is that? What the hell is that? My boyfriend lives here with me. We see the devastating wars on TV. We do not do these kind of things, like army, rifles, fights. It is the 21st century for God’s sake. Do not tell me that at any day, I could loose him to the army. I am not prepared for this. I am too spoiled for this… I am used to peace! I am just too spoiled thinking that boyfriends don’t go to wars…

And maybe now, I admit: I am wearing  pinky glasses; I am too naive. I am too naive for this reality.

Since then I just call him soldier.
He salutes confidently with his proud smirk.

But somewhere deep … we both know, if things escalate…