Two comrades from the North lead Paratroop recruits on grueling ‘beret march’

Almost three years ago, Or Levy and Eden Adler marched almost 60 kilometers together to finish their basic training as paratroopers.

OR LEVY (left) and Eden Adler 370 (photo credit: IDF)
OR LEVY (left) and Eden Adler 370
(photo credit: IDF)
Almost three years ago, Or Levy and Eden Adler marched almost 60 kilometers together to finish their basic training as paratroopers.
This week, the two friends embarked on the “beret march” for the third and final time, this time as second-lieutenants.
Inseparable, they were two of several platoon commanders who had led hundreds of Paratroop Brigade recruits from Eucalyptus Park in Beit Shemesh to Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem. The men marched from Wednesday afternoon until Thursday morning.
They ran the last 5 kilometers, carrying weighted stretchers, as family and friends cheered them on.
The brigade held a swearing-in ceremony at Ammunition Hill in the evening.
The recruits received their red berets, and Paratroop Brigade commander Col. Eliezer Toledano addressed the crowd.
It was the last time Adler, 21, and Levy, 23, will serve in the same battalion, although they are certain their friendship will last a lifetime.
While Levy will soon join the brigade’s Special Troops Battalion, specifically its Engineering Platoon, Adler will remain in the 101st “Python” Airborne Battalion.
“I know it’s going to be rough,” Adler said about not serving with Levy.
Adler is from Kfar Vradim, near Ma’alot-Tarshiha, and Levy is from Kibbutz Yiron, in the Galilee Panhandle.
When they met, they discovered that they had been living near the Lebanese border. Both men enjoy the outdoors.
But, Levy said, they clicked because they have matching values and goals.
They both wanted to become officers who mentored recruits, and they wanted to help teenagers become soldiers. Thus they became officers in the 101st Battalion.
Levy was first to complete his officer training, which separated the friends for four months. Adler finished his soon afterward, and ever since, they have served side-by-side. They explained how invaluable their friendship had been in the army.
“You need companionship and trust,” Levy said. “You need someone looking out for you.”
Adler added that in war, your best friend is the person fighting with you. He will sit next to you. He will sleep beside you. He will be with you during your worst times.”
Recruit Naor Perez credits Levy and Adler for demonstrating the importance of friendship in the military. He just finished his basic training and has been serving in the IDF for less than eight months.
“Before you can learn how to fight, you need to learn friendship,” Perez said.
“Friendship in the IDF is different from friendship anywhere else. In the IDF, you struggle together... You learn what friendship is. This is what I learned from them [Levy and Adler].”
Citing Adler and Levy’s friendship as an example, an IDF spokeswoman said that “without true friends you trust, you won’t succeed.”
All of their fathers speak about their friends from the army, and every Israeli boy wants to experience it, Levy said.