The new commander of the IDF base for underprivileged soldiers discusses his base's contribution to the IDF and Israeli society
The Havat Hashomer basic training base, which is devoted to providing support and training to soldiers from underprivileged backgrounds and difficult family situations, received a new commander several weeks ago. After a short period on the job, Lt. Col. Moshon Levy recently discussed his role, the important work done at Havat Hashomer, and the base's contributions to the IDF and to Israeli society.
"This is a very exhausting and demanding post, but there is satisfaction in it, and the educational work is the heart of the issue," Lt. Col. Levy said. "There is direct contact with educational practice, coupled with exceptional quality, and you can see the results."
As a basic training base, Havat Hashomer aims to prepare its soldiers for successful military service. Roughly 75 percent of the soldiers trained at Havat Hashomer successfully complete basic training, and 80 percent complete their full military service.
The base's notable success stories include soldiers who have volunteered to serve as combat soldiers after completing basic training at Havat Hashomer. Soldiers who qualify and choose this route must undergo a second basic training, this time with their particular combat units. "A soldier who follows a route like this one has notable willpower. Several days ago, try-outs for the paratroopers concluded, and everyone who went from Havat Hashomer completed the try-outs successfully," Lt. Col. Levy noted with pride.
In addition to the significance of the base's educational accomplishments for the IDF, Havat Hashomer seeks to provide its soldiers with tools that will allow them to succeed in civilian life. Lt. Col. Levy explained that the educational activities on the base are structured so as to gradually increase discipline and boundaries, at a pace appropriate for the soldiers.
Lt. Col. Levy noted that Havat Hashomer reflects the IDF's role as a people's army. "Addressing national goals, recruiting everyone who is eligible [to serve], and providing equal opportunities are integral parts of the IDF's activities," he said. "We help the soldiers to fulfill their duty. And if the base didn't exist, we would be denying them their rights. Havat Hashomer gives the IDF a more ethical character, in addition to dealing with pressing military matters."
The biggest challenge for the base commander, in his words, is to learn. "Although I presumably know a considerable amount, every day we learn something new here," said the commander, who holds a M.A. in education. "When a soldier completes basic training, our measure [of success] isn't just what happened to him or her here, but what will happen to him or her in a month. We must consider the future thoroughly, professionally, and educationally."