Dive into the captivating journey of Pesach Lattin, a proud American with an unwavering commitment to Israel, and a heart that beats in tandem with a soldier’s spirit. In a mesmerizing memoir, Pesach Lattin unveils the chapters of his life as an integral member of one of the world’s most revered and proficient fighting forces.
Rooted in a profound connection to his Jewish heritage, Lattin’s initial encounter with Israel as a teenager in 1984 ignited an insatiable longing to call it his home. Six years later, against the backdrop of the Palestinian Intifada and Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, Lattin found himself drawn back to Israel, stepping boldly into the realm of military service. Carrying no familial companionship, he embraced the role of a chayal boded, a solitary soldier embracing the cause.
A foreigner turned Israeli paratrooper, Lattin embodied a distinct narrative, earning the moniker of an “old hand” in a nation where military service follows high school. His narrative unfurls the trials of training and the unyielding standards that sculpt an Israeli combatant. From the initial push-ups that mark the journey to the daring ambushes in Lebanon and intricate operations within the West Bank, Lattin’s chronicle envelops readers in the saga, revealing the essence of “retsach bi’anigh” – the unwavering fire of determination – and the sanctity of time.
Yet, the Israeli military culture defied Lattin’s preconceived notions. Amid the quest for perfection that echoed his familiarity with the U.S. military, he unearthed a distinct reverence for individualism within the Israeli ranks. Consensus emerged as a prevailing force over rigid orders, and every soldier bore the authority to challenge commands that clashed with their moral compass.
Spanning thirteen years, Lattin’s journey bore witness to a military recalibrating itself amidst an ever-evolving tapestry of threats. The ethos of 1990, epitomized by a reluctance to resort to killing except as a last resort, evolved by 2002 to encompass targeted assassinations aimed at dismantling terrorist networks. Lattin’s unflagging aspiration for a separate Palestinian state stood unwavering, even as his perspective shifted in the face of escalating Palestinian violence, born from a desperate hunger for independence. This narrative mirrored Israel’s own growing uncertainty regarding a plausible path to reconciliation on the horizon.
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