Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Wounded Soldiers Holiday

From one of Israel's wounded soldiers comes an interesting letter enjoying himself on his annual government sponsored holiday.

I believe this is worth publishing

Hi guys.

As a wounded ex paratrooper the government gives me a week every year in a 5 star spa hotel.

This year we are in one of the weirdest places a extremely small settlement [Ein Bokek,
http://www.einbokek.com/ ] in the middle of nowhere on the shores of the Dead Sea. Maybe 2500 inhabitants and 10, 5 star spa hotels.

Half the visitors here are veterans all with bits and pieces missing. But who are these veterans? Well most people who haven't been to Israel will presume that they are all Jews. Wrong!! There are Jews, Arab Christian and Moslems who volunteer to serve, Druze who all serve, Bedouin {many Bedouin volunteer and reach high ranking officer status] and a people called Cherkaizim who are Moslems and came from the Caucasian mountains brought by the Turks as mercenaries a few hundred years ago and now live in 2 villages in the Galilee and all serve in the army.

So that’s the veterans, the other half are Christian Russians who come here for the Dead Sea treatments and the endless amounts of free food and alcohol included in the price.

There are icons of various Saints and symbols of Christianity in all the shops and we are told by the shopkeepers that without the Russians they would close down. All very weird.

The staff at the hotels is also a very strange combination. Half are local Israelis,
types that love living in the desert in small towns and villages, local Bedouin and strangest of all tall jet black Moslem Sudanese political refugees.

These poor souls brave travelling through Egypt [where they risk being shot on sight] and stealthily cross the border into Israel where they receive asylum as political refugees. So this is what’s going on in the lowest spot on he planet. I thought this might interest the uninformed.

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