After suppressing traumatic memories for years, soldiers who greeted asylum seekers in Israel after their long journey in the deserts of Africa have decided to share their experiences; ‘While I was on guard duty, I saw the Egyptians placing them in a row and executing them,’ Staff Sgt. Nir Leibler recalls; ‘One woman was full of scars on her body from melted plastic and cigarettes,’ First Lt. Eliana Bastiaans says.
They are a group of male and female fighters who served in Caracal, the IDF’s first mixed-gender infantry combat battalion, in the early 2010s. They were stationed on the Israel-Egypt border and took part in routine operational activities. Some of them were promoted to command posts and even received awards and decorations for their service. But it was all marred by one thing.
They have suppressed it for years, refused to discuss it with others—and barely amongst themselves. They tried to forget. They didn’t want to confront hidden demons. But now, with the upcoming expulsion plan, they feel the time has come to share what only they have seen.