I tried to steal a tank, ok that’s not completely true. I colluded to steal a tank but apparently they don’t leave the tanks just sitting around; finding a tank was harder than you might think (all things considered). My cohort was another volunteer, even with his perfect hebrew and my charming smile we were at a loss on how to jump a tank for our little joy ride. Day and night we conspired and just when we were about to give up hope the sea split and our prayers were answered!
One day when I was meticulously lubing wires, deep in my thoughts, in walked a group of head honchos. I could tell they were the big wigs by the amount of bling adorning their shoulders, the finely pressed uniforms and the air they brought with them through the unit. As they passed my station it didn’t take much before I was talking to one of the guys with not one but two falafels on his sleeve. FYI – They are not really falafel, that’s just what the soldiers call the high-ranking symbol (it looks more like a marijuana plant if you ask me). Anyway, I seized the opportunity and asked him what it takes for a girl to drive a tank and before I knew it this major or general or man with many falafels was giving the order for a tank excursion!
A few days later, armed with helmets and excitement, we were caravanned down to another part of the base to get a tank tour. We thought we would see some tanks, maybe get some quintessential pictures around the tanks instead we were in for a serious treat. Our small communication base was part of a larger base; unbeknownst to any of us we were living and working directly above the place where they fix ALL the tanks for the Israeli army. This is no ordinary lube, oil, filter station either. They take the tanks completely apart, run a plethora of diagnostic tests on the engine, remove the turret and completely over hall each tank every few years. We went through the huge warehouse on our VIP tour to see the process from start to finish; with giddiness of kids at the playground after a long winter we climbed around as well as in and out of the tanks.
When we thought it couldn’t get any better we hurried out back as the crew hoisted the turret off the main body of the tank. We all watched in awe and appreciation as the massive machinery was detached and lifted into the air. The roar of an engine marked the finale for our tour; directly behind us one of the drivers revved up the engine and gave us a show with one of the finished tanks.