No Israeli military mission, simulated or otherwise, takes place without no'el krav, battle procedures, a step by step list of activities that prepares troops for the coming battle. With Saturdays set aside as the day of rest, Friday March 18 was the only day available to prepare for our misakem tzevet. We must put this past week's misakem prat behind us, warned our commander late on Thursday night, because tomorrow is going to be very busy, our only chance to make sure we are ready for the horrors that await next week. No'el krav from sunup till sundown. Get ready.
Reality dawned the next morning. Our commander was tied up in meetings, the guys were tied down in their bedsheets, and no prep work of any kind was attempted. Until noon. Everyone was lazing around at midday when word got out that an expedition would be heading out to purchase snack-foods. Within seconds energy emerged from lethargy, as guys ran around writing shopping lists, finding loose change and arguing with everybody else about the right cookies, cereal and cigarettes to order. The sudden carnival was nothing compared to the business that erupted when the goodies arrived hours later. Guys pawed through the plastic shopping bags, grabbing what they could, complaining when they could not and finding a hundred and one reasons to complicate the poor souls who vainly tried to bring order to the chaotic market scene. Shabbat arrived as the final food lists were checked off and the last vaffelim and Nesteas (slang terms for the wafer snacks and Nestea iced tea drinks consumed in mind boggling amounts by Israeli soldiers) were parceled out. No battle planning for us. No'el tash (pleasure procedures, from the army acronym TaSH, t'nai sherut) had vanquished no'el krav this Friday.
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