Isreali Army Boot Camp, and the Special Day

The modern nation of Israel has a policy called conscription.   This means that every Israeli citizen serves two years in the military.   It's part of the price of citizenship.

In the military, you start off with "basic training" or "boot camp."   In Israeli boot camp, there's a special day (it's a Tuesday) when they put you on a bus at 0800 and take you to the Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem.   It's considered part of your education; the idea is to show you why you're training so hard.   The Museum seems to say: If you go to war, and you lose, this could happen to you and your friends.

The Holocaust History Museum is not for the faint of heart.   It includes photographs of pits filled with emaciated, naked corpses; the trains crammed with people; the crematorium with smoke billowing out of its chimney; the used (and unused) cannisters of Zyklon B.   There are Nazi account books showing how much gold was taken from the teeth of dead Jews.   There's a replica of the "ARBEIT MACHT FREI" sign that hung over the entrance to Auschwitz.

The tour ends after a few hours.   They take the trainees back to the base around lunch time.

The mess hall cooks have learned, over the years, that they don't need to prepare lunch on that particular Tuesday.   Nobody comes back from the Museum tour with any kind of appetite left.   Nobody ever wants to eat lunch.

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