A career in the military was always a clear vocation for brothers Avihai and Netanel Meivar, born and raised in Safed. Serving together, however, made their experience much more enjoyable than they had imagined.

The brothers’ family background steered them toward participating in the country’s defense.

With a mother whose family suffered during the Holocaust and a 7th generation native-born Israeli father, Zionism was a central element of their childhood.

“IDF service is a value we grew up with,” Avihai told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, which was marked as Family Day in the country. “Our parents raised us in this mindset. We were taught the importance of this country since we were born.”

Both 36-year-old Avichai and 34-year-old Netanel served in the criminal investigations department of the military police branch of the IDF when they were first drafted at age 18.

“We did a lot of investigations together,” Netanel explained. “It is amazing to go through this experience with someone who is close to you, who you trust. We would be called to the base together and leave the house saying bye to mom at the same time.”

After working together during the time their mandatory services overlapped, the brothers became officers.

Later, Netanel left the army to pursue other things while his older brother embarked on a military career as head of doctrine in the training branch of the military police.

But a few years later, Netanel was drawn back to his calling and now serves as company commander in imprisonment base 394, where he works to help imprisoned soldiers in their struggle to re-integrate the army, and society in general.

“I was inspired by [Avihai], he is a role model for me,” Netanel said. “He is a role model not just because he is my brother, but in the army in general, he is probably the best officer I know.

“I find my path to advancing and reaching achievements through him,” he added. “It’s like he is my private tutor, and when you have that, it’s a win. I use it to learn from him.”

Avihai and Netanel’s current positions in the military police overlap and, they believe, even complete each other.

“There is something about what we do that is sort of a process of coming full circle,” Avihai said. “My role is to put behind bars those difficult criminal soldiers and he takes them in and builds them up to bring them back into life. It is two different perspectives of the issue and I feel like it’s one of the things that keeps our society strong.”

A couple of months ago, when Avihai went to pay a surprise visit to his brother at the prison, Netanel was in the middle of a conversation with a soldier.

“Netanel was announcing to him that he is getting released and the soldier started crying of happiness,” Avihai recounted. “He told Netanel thank you and that he will never forget him. “It just made me realize the incredible things he does and the abilities he has.” N e t a n e l and Avihai both agree that working with each other on a daily basis is a “fun” experience.

Growing up, the two always shared a strong bond, and the only thing they remember fighting about was a game of chess.

“We are great friends, we talk every day,” Netanel said. “We meet more in army than at home.”

Their close relationship and professional cooperation is a model Avihai is now trying to transmit to his two sons.

“I would love for them to have that relationship too,” he said. “It is fun to have someone you trust. I can definitely say that we learn from each other in our respective ways.”

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