Thursday, May 26 2016 22:12 EEST
'Infantry sets the tone to battles...' - Tsvi Arieli israeli instructor of Ukraine’s National Guard
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Israeli volunteer instructor Tsvi Arieli talks about the mentality of Ukrainian militaries, resistance to reforms, the transition to NATO standards, bananas and decent johns. He is an instructor who is training the first experimental light infantry brigade for the National Guard of Ukraine.

- Tsvi, are you working as a volunteer?

- Yes. My work is for free. I have been working for Ukrainian law firm for several years. My friend invited me there. The most time is given to work as an instructor for the National Guard’s brigade. It’s not easy to survive. That’s why I’m going to become a formal instructor or to get another full-time position with salary. The salary for working in the brigade varies from 10 to 20 thousand. I think my salary will be about UAH 10,000. An instructor that works for an Israeli company abroad earns about $5-7 thousand per month. But this is not my case.

- Did you join Israeli Special Forces some time ago?

- I'm an infantryman. That’s why I am training Ukrainian infantrymen right now. The Israeli infantrymen join a training company after a six-month course and leave it 7 months later. During the second stage, their constant training is combined with security and patrol functions. The company then is dismissed and the guys join different existing units: attacking, operational, logistic ones. It takes about 2 years to train an infantryman. The UK, the US and other advanced countries also follow this practice. One can never make an infantryman in a month.

- And how long is the course in your brigade?

- Four months. There will be the first experimental release in June.

- The soldiers are hugging a huge log for hours. Does Israeli infantry do the same during the trainings?

- They hug the log for selection only. It is a test to watch their behavior. The Israeli infantry uses stretchers instead of logs and this really is useful. A “wounded” comrade lies there and the rest of the group has to take him from a “battlefield”. The National Guard replaced stretchers with a log. Not all of them can cope with such a job.

- What are your criteria? Do you select the strongest guys?

- It's not just about tactics or the ability to do push-ups on the floor. It’s not about to teach the soldier to shoot well and run fast. It is important. But our task is to change people’s mind.

- What impressed you most of all?

- The most tragic is the amount of people who have been killed in the ATO area. I was shocked that soldiers had to sweep pine needles in the forest or to paint the walls of their rooms in cold weather because of the officials’ arrival. Why cannot the National Security’s budget that has more than 100 billion solve the problems of decent johns? The army’s capabilities depends on these little things a lot.

- What can you claim as a merit for yourself?

- My guys eat bananas...

- Instead of what?

- Not instead of, just bananas. There have been no fruit on the menu. It was difficult to get a decent john too. Some bosses started to hate me, because I drew attention to this sensitive matter. I am sure that people, who are risking their lives for their country, have the right to get it...

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