An air hostess and a research scientist are among the hundreds of thousands of volunteer soldiers who are braced for Israel’s battle with Hamas fanatics in Gaza.
The soldiers from Israel’s Reserve Army grabbed a cup of coffee and a hot snack as their units stopped off at a petrol station on their way to the border with the Palestinian enclave.
The men and women have all completed their compulsory 32-month military service but they are called upon to take up arms to defend the Jewish state in times of crisis.
‘I am flight attendant for the Israeli airline El Al,’ Tamar, 22, from Tel Aviv, told . ‘Usually I work on flights to Europe and North America. But now I am back in the army. I am a lieutenant. This is my first combat mission but I am ready to defend Israel.’
Tamar, 22, from Tel Aviv, is normally an air hostess with Israeli airline El Al – now she is braced to battle Hamas in Gaza
Ben, 24, from Tel Aviv with Noa, 23, restaurant manager from Batan Hefer relax with the automatic rifles slung around them as they ready themselves for war
Eden, 27, a trainee vet from Tel Aviv, is one of the thousands of military reserves mobilised in Israel
Israeli’s Reserve Army near Gaza take a break from their duties to relax and grab food before they return to duties in the area. Picture shows: (L-R back row) Alice, 20, Avrama, 21 Ali, 21 all from Jerusalem, and front Shoham, 21
Research scientist Jonathan, 32, from Haifa, spends most of his time starring down a microscope looking into human evolution.
But for the past week he has been lying in the sand defending Israel’s border with Lebanon from attack. Now he is part of the strike force that will enter Gaza to destroy Hamas.
Jonathan, whose mother is from Melbourne, Australia, told : ‘Like everyone here I am in the army reserve. I got the call last Saturday. My unit was sent to the border with Lebanon.
‘The conditions were tough. We were sleeping outside on the sand. We only had ration packs to eat – and donations from local people.
Alice, 20 with Ali, 21 both from Jerusalem, are part of the mass of army reserves mobilised
Karen, 28, a trainee lawyer from Emek, relaxes during some downtime before returning to operations
Alice, 20 with Ali, 21 both from Jerusalem, giggle as they have a drink at a local coffee shop
Reserve troops have answered Israel’s call in their thousands, flying from across the world. Pictured are soldiers in Tel Aviv taking a break from their duties to grab some food and coffee
Noa, 23, is a restaurant manager from Batan Hefer dreams of running a brasserie in London
‘Now we are heading to Gaza.’
Women fight alongside men in this force of one and a half million, that supports Israel’s full-time army. And the variety of ages and occupation of the soldiers makes the units operate more like a family than a platoon, recruits claim.
Shoham, 22, from Jerusalem, told : ‘Having female comrades makes the army stronger. There is less testosterone, it is less intense, we are more like a family. I call my commander “mother”.’
The volunteers must put their normal lives on hold when they are called upon to serve.
Trainee vet Eden, 27, from Tel Aviv – who holds the rank of captain – relies on her mother to look after the injured dogs and cats that she has taken in.
Trainee vet Eden, 27, from Tel Aviv – who holds the rank of captain – relies on her mother to look after the injured dogs and cats that she has taken in
Tamar, 22, from Tel Aviv, is an air hostess. She holds the rank of Lieutenant in Israel’s army
Other Israeli troops have been letting off steam by posting videos on TikTok
All the reserve troops have served for at least 32 months in the Israeli military (pictured are soldiers relaxing in Tel Aviv
The volunteers must put their normal lives on hold when they are called upon to serve (reserves pictured taking a break from duties ahead of an expected ground invasion of Gaza)
Restaurant manager Noa dreams of running a brasserie in London. But for now she has pulled on her combat fatigues and is heading for the front line.
The 23-year-old from Bat Hefer told : ‘One day I want to live and work in London. But for now I must fight for country, fight for Israel.’