They are always on call, and at a moment’s notice they are ready to drive the IDF’s combat soldiers to wherever they need – even inside the battlefield.
In Israel, the borders are never quiet, and our soldiers need to be ready to act whenever something happens. But how do they get to the border quickly in case of an emergency? That’s the job of the IDF’s large off-road vehicles. These vehicles can drive up to 60 kilometers per hour, carry up to 15 soldiers and a lot of equipment, and are fully armored.
The IDF’s off-road drivers are stationed on bases near the border. They work in shifts, so that at any given time, there are at least two drivers ready to go. They all begin their careers as regular drivers, and only the best become off-road drivers, because they have the immense responsibility of transporting soldiers to the field through dangerous terrain. Their number-one priority is safety: Every driver must get at least seven hours of sleep a day, and they won’t drive unless everyone is wearing seatbelts.
Sergeant Amin Abu-Saadi is a Druze soldier who lives in Daliyat Al-Karmel and serves as an off-road driver. “I love my job very much”, says Amin. “I’ve loved vehicles and driving since I was a child. At first I didn’t want to enlist in the army, because I’m the only brother out of five who stayed at home with my parents, but my commander helped me a lot, and now I’m doing what I love while helping the combat soldiers.”
Whenever the sensors on the border fence detect something suspicious, or when the field observers detect a foreign object (that could be a terrorist attempting to enter Israel), our soldiers are sent immediately to the scene. The off-road drivers need to be alert. When duty calls, they have to run to their vehicles, and drive the soldiers quickly to the scene. “It’s a very challenging job,” Amin says, “you have to be focused and alert at all times.”
The drivers’ routine activity mostly involves reconnaissance missions on the border. Since the off-road vehicles drive through dangerous places, the vehicle is armored, even the tires. “People shoots at my vehicle daily in Judea and Samaria,” Amin says. “At first it was scary, but I got used to it. When I’m driving with soldiers and we get shot at, I have to just keep on driving.”
At the end of the day, the drivers are always here to help the IDF’s combat soldiers, and put their lives at risk every day to make sure IDF operations are successful.
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