“If someone points a finger at one of us, even one of our civilians, the far reaching arm of Israeli Security Forces will bring justice. And we know how to bring justice quickly, very quickly.”
Some people might say that Security is the name of the fourth religion of the State of Israel. Just one hour from Jerusalem by car, this religion even has a sanctuary, where tourists and civilians handle real weapons and learn how to react to terrorist attacks.
Caliber 3 is located in Gush Etzion, one of the largest settlements in the West Bank.
It serves as a real academy where soldiers from the special units of the Israeli army, train tourists from all over the world. Women, children and even the elderly come here to learn how to defend themselves with a weapon or even their bare hands, getting to learn first hand from the men of the IDF.
“We think that everyone has the right to know, and to understand exactly how to act when out of the battle field, our education programme also aids in our own training. You have to understand what the State of Israel’s program is against terrorism, and how they manage to maintain this Nation, one of the most secure in the world.”
The tourists are often of the Jewish faith, and in the majority of cases come from diaspora communities in the United States or South America, in addition to others we meet who come straight from Venezuela.
“In Venezuela there are constantly armed attacks and there is a lot of danger in the streets, not only from terrorism but also from common criminals…
“I believe everyone should come here, not only to understand how you handle a weapon but in order to understand the mentality required when under threat and when under a terrorist attack, you have to be able to react almost instandtly.”
Eitan is a member of the army reserves, with over twenty years of experience of experience. For a period he also worked for YAMAS, the border police who work undercover in the West Bank and in the most dangerous parts of the territory. He is the one who teaches the visitors about the Israeli Army’s founding values.
“75 years ago we lost 6 million people in the Holocaust, today in 2017, it is the first year that the number of Jewish people is almost at the same level as 75 years ago before the Holocaust. During the Holocaust we were dispersed all over the world. There was no state, there was protection, anyone could have put a hand on the head of a Jew and say “run, I’m here for you”.
Today after 79 years that is what we now have, we have the Israeli Army, the IDF. These three letters represents exactly what we are here to do. We are here to protect the State of Israel.
“Here in Israel we have numerous types of civilians, I am not just talking about citizens, I’m talking about everyone… you even as a reporter, as a tourist, your life is my responsibility, the tourists, the Arabs, the Muslims, the Palestinians, or those who define themselves as those, the Druze, the Bedouins, every one of them is my responsibility. What does it mean that I carry a weapon? It means I was trained here, I protect this land and everyone who is on this land will be protected by me.
This is what makes us one of the most secure armies of the world. The passion, the history, we know where we come from, and we know what future we want. If we decided to set weapons aside, for God’s sake, in one second the State of Israel would be no more, the Jewish homeland would vanish and what happened 75 years ago would happen again.”
When we asked them whether they had any questions for our politicians on the subject of terrorism, they answered like this:
“Wake up! Wake up. I am not talking about a religious war, I am not a politician. My suggestion is: come here, learn, let’s coordinate together, because in the end we all want the same thing, to live our lives in peace and serenity. We are here for you guys, we are ready to teach and cooperate, let’s do it in an intelligent way and lets do it together.”
Shot by Ilaria Cesanelli