The latest batch of Givati combat soldiers, who swore allegiance to defend the state this week, “know that their shift has begun” and that their time has come to safeguard their homeland, their training commander told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
Maj. Ido Asraf oversaw the training for IDF recruits who joined the army in November 2013, from basic training to the current swearing in ceremony. He described the ceremony as a milestone.
“They now understand what they’re doing here and the significance of what they’ll be doing in the next two and a half to three years. They understand what they’re defending,” Asraf said.
After some four months of basic training the troops are considered combat soldiers and will begin a roughly equally long period of advanced training, before taking up operational duties.
Prior to the ceremony, the soldiers marched down Burma Road, retracing the path taken by the first IDF soldiers in the 1948 War of Independence, as they advanced toward the capital.
“In 1948, it was their grandparents. Now it is them,” Asraf said. “When you are near the Western Wall, you feel an immense power, it’s hard to explain in words,” he said.
“This is the third cycle of recruits I have trained, and it brings me enormous pride and satisfaction. A few months ago, these soldiers were civilians and didn’t understand what was going on around them. Now, they’re part of the IDF, and a part of this vast power that defends the state.”
Three fundamental skills have been drilled into the new soldiers, he added: Firearms training, field craft, and physical fitness.
“As soldiers, we live on the ground. We teach them to both love and use the field,” he said. “These are the three foundations.”
The advanced training phase that comes next will also reflect the new, complex security reality that is sweeping the region, said Asraf.
“They’ll bring all of the abilities they’ve acquired individually and bring them to bear in drills that are complex and that will use live fire,” he said.