When you drive along the Dead Sea, shortly before Ein Gedi, the street leads you back from Palestine to Israel – and you have to face another IDF checkpoint. As I remembered those checkpoints from eastern Europe I prepared my passport and visa and waited for a tough questioning or thoroughly inspection.
In fact, the questioning consisted of the sentences “Hey, how are you doing?“, “Where are you from?“, “Is everything fine?” and “Are you having a good time?“. I offered my passport but the friendly soldier of the Israeli Defense Forces didn’t want to see it. On the way back he merrily waved to me and made me pass without any consultation.
Apart from me being obviously a tourist this somehow seems to be a characteristic of IDF. I met a lot of former IDF soldiers travelling the world. That is because everyone – man and woman – has to serve two full years in Israel and afterwards they leave to see the world. Somehow this seems to change the way an army acts and soldiers behave.