Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 16, 2010
My officemate phoned me this morning on his way to work to tell me that the paratroopers (tsanchanim) were passing by our building on a “masa kumta” (march at graduation from basic training). According to one of my co-workers who was in the paratroopers, the march starts at about 4:00 in the afternoon at Tel-Nof, and ends 100 kilometers (!!) and 16 hours later at Ammunition Hill (Givat Hatachmoshet). At this intersection, family members and friends join the soldiers for the last two kilometers. It’s quite a sight!
In the photo below, a soldier is helping his friend keep up by dragging him by the hand. He must be strong — he’s carrying a heavy stretcher on his back and a lot of other equipment on his vest. The soldier between them is one of many who were chanting, “Mem Peh meshuga. Mem Mem meshuga.” Loose translation: “The platoon commander is crazy. The company commander is crazy.” I guess it keeps their mind off their sore feet and boosts morale.
This guy has an ice pop wrapper hanging out of his mouth. He’s wearing a red ceremonial banner that identifies their unit, “Efeah,” a kind of snake. (One of my co-workers served in that unit and gave me the background info on the march. He also identified the rifle. It’s a Belgian FN MAG M240, in case you were wondering.)
On the left are two officers (they already have their berets and have insignia on their shoulders). The one on the right is wearing a flag with the paratroopers’ emblem.
After they crossed the intersection, they continued marching up Golda Meir Blvd. This isn’t a great photo. I only included it because it shows the place where I work. It would have been fun to photograph them from the sixth floor balcony but I couldn’t be in two places at once.