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Historical Israel-Arab wars Discuss the strategies and the situation of the historical Israeli-Arab wars from 1948-1982 and it's implications on Israel.

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  #1  
Old 09-15-2016, 03:59 AM
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Default Questions re: IDF / Israel in 1967 (for my novel).

Hello all—I introduced myself a year ago and dropped off the map, so I will reintroduce myself now. I am writing a novel (second draft, heavily revised) about a fictional platoon in an elite unit that takes part in the Battle for Jerusalem in 1967.

I’ve read over a hundred books about Israel, the IDF, wars, special ops, Mossad, everything I can get my hands on in English (and a couple in Hebrew) about the subject. I’ve been to Israel multiple times, visited battle sites; volunteered with Sar-El; taken some weapons training; shot an Uzi and an AK-47 in Israel; spoken with soldiers and officers, including several in the Special Ops unit my (emphatically fictional and unnamed) unit is loosely based on. But I have never served in the military, either USA or Israel’s, and there are still some raging gaps. I’m hoping you will help me fill these in as I work through my second draft, and polish the earliest chapters to start sending out queries.

I will try to limit questions to this thread. Some questions will be very specific to the IDF in the ‘60s. Others will be very general military or general to Israel.

Thanks in advance for any and all assistance.
That said, here goes…
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Old 09-15-2016, 04:15 AM
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I am changing the names of my fictional characters to protect their identity. (I'm a writer--I'm allowed to be a little crazy.) I'm a little hesitant to post actual content, so I will only include the minimum I think is necessary.

The crew is about 10 months into their training. They are conducting a (live) fire and maneuver exercise. One of the soldiers (Mike) stops, his Uzi isn’t working. Officer (John) orders cease-fire.

“Sorry, John, it jammed.”
John, in quiz-mode: “If you’re in combat, what do you do?”
“I [insert correct response here].”
“....Let me see that.” John examines the Uzi and finds [something potentially dangerous, but that John can't fix. It has to be taken to the armory for repair or exchange. Help me out with something that would work here.]

Corollary issues:
Mike will take his weapon to the armory. They are encamped along the Gaza/ Egypt border during the Waiting Period, so what would the "armory" look like? A truck? A collection of trucks? I have no idea.

The plot line here is loosely borrowed from Muki Betser's account in Secret Soldier, where he was tricked out of his bazooka by a sergeant who convinces him to trade his French 82 mm bazooka for a lower standard 73 mm Belgian bazooka. "Mike" is "temporarily" given a worse weapon (Belgian FN rifle, most likely); when he tries to get a working Uzi back, the sergeant acts like he doesn't know who Mike is.

(No, I’m not trying to make the IDF look bad; I have plot / conflict related reasons, it will make my guys look good.)
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Old 09-15-2016, 04:24 AM
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This is an elite unit, but let's say they're paratroops. (They completed jump school and got their wings.) They are 10 months out from giyus (conscription). What kind of training/ exercises would they be doing?

Krav Maga: I know it existed in the 1960's, but is that what they called it at the time?

Physical training: I assume this consists of runs, push-ups (1 &2 handed, clapping), sit-ups, and rope climbing. What am I missing?
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Old 09-15-2016, 04:29 AM
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General inquiry for those who were there at the time:
Favorite restaurants, bars, clubs in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem? Especially those that soldiers would frequent.
Favorite songs, singers. (I have dozens of Israeli CD's with music from the '60s through the '90s, so I have the top hits and military hits, songs of the Six Day War, etc., but if people have unusual songs they'd like to share, I'd love to hear about them.)

That's all for now, thanks again for your help!
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Old 09-16-2016, 10:52 AM
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if i'm honest it sounds like you don't know much at all about the military. and as such you should be writing about what you do know. for example: mike is given a worse weapon (a Belgium FN, most likely). the FN is a far superior weapon to the Uzi in terms of range and stopping power and as such would have been used differently
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Old 09-16-2016, 07:38 PM
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Thanks for your feedback. You're right, I know virtually nothing about the military first hand. But the bit about the FN vs. Uzi is specifically from Betser's book; he says the FN was used by recruits and when they finished Basic they were relieved to be issued an Uzi. The following is a direct quote from Secret Soldier (1996, p 41):

"Glad for the small, light Uzis that replaced the heavy FNs, their short range and low velocity made a good tool for house-to-house combat. But at longer distances they lost their accuracy and punch."

So yes, you're right about the specs. But it doesn't change the fact that soldiers were using Uzis on a daily basis, used them in combat, and may have preferred them. And what I need to learn is the difference between the specs (which I can find by googling), and what the reality was.

(The adage "write what you know" refers not just to personal experience, but to research. If you have researched and interviewed a subject, then you do know about it; otherwise there would be no historical novels beyond a single generation. I will also enter into evidence, somewhat defensively, the example of Daniel Silva, who is not a Mossad agent, but has written a series of popular and plausible novels with a Mossad agent as protagonist.)

Last edited by Nodedet; 09-16-2016 at 07:43 PM..
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Old 09-19-2016, 01:58 PM
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about Daniel Silva, yes, but he interviewed many Mossad agents etc. its all about research.

the FN is a battlefield weapon used for long (ish) range fighting. the uzi is ideal for house to house fighting. the length of the FN made it an impractical weapon for house clearing.

the FN is chambered for the NATO 7.62 round and the uzi is chambered for the 9mm pistol round
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Passage Isaiah 62

I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence,


"I ask then, has God rejected His people? By no means! God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. For the gifts and call of God are irrevocable."
(Romans 11:1,2,29)
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Old 09-22-2016, 09:04 AM
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Thanks for the additional information. It definitely helps 'spin' the dialogue and plot in the proper direction.

Yes, research is critical. I'm not relying on this site for primary research! I have spoken to guys in The Unit, and hopefully will be able to do more on my next trip.

(A lot of Silva's research was in the library also. And I've read most of the books he lists as sources.)
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Old 09-23-2016, 09:46 AM
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well let us know how you get on
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Passage Isaiah 62

I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence,


"I ask then, has God rejected His people? By no means! God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. For the gifts and call of God are irrevocable."
(Romans 11:1,2,29)
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Old 09-23-2016, 06:59 PM
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Ideally you would need to talk to Israelis in their 70s who would have likely served or had acquaintances who were serving in that era.
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Old 09-24-2016, 09:08 AM
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I will certainly let you know of any major advances. I do have several leads, including one local. A couple more potential in Israel for my next visit. And finding a potential beta reader--ideally (as Knaur says) an older Israeli paratrooper or elite unit veteran, who moreover reads English quickly-- is a priority, but not easy to find, especially wandering around the US.

Although this site is certainly not a primary source, I was hoping people could answer a few questions to take the burden off interviews. Letting people tell their stories is one thing; asking nitpicky detailed questions is another. So if anyone can help with my original post (and I will have more as I progress), I'd appreciate it. Thanks again for your responses!
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