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A principal, a high school teacher, and a preschool teacher – the IDF reserve soldiers returning home: “The difference is like night and day” 

High school principal Dor, high school teacher Ido and preschool teacher Yair fought should-to-shoulder in Gaza and are now returning to their schools in Mitzpe Ramon and admit, “we have concerns about returning to normal life and routine.”  

Translated from the Hebrew Ynet article.

Ilana Curiel and Israel Moskowitz, January 2, 2024 

Dor, Ido and Yair- Dror Israel Educators during their Reserve Duty.

Of the many reserve soldiers being released this week as some of the IDF brigades are leaving Gaza, are people with lots of different jobs. For example, Yair Talmor, Dor Raz and Ido Amit all work in education as part of Dror Israel’s Educators’ Kibbutz in Mitzpe Ramon. The three served together in the same reserve company, the IDF’s 7007th Battalion. After 80 days of reserve duty, including fighting in Gaza, they have returned to their work in education, at least for now. 

“To me, the fields of education and battle are connected,” says Dor (39), the principal of Dror Israel’s high school in Mitzpe Ramon. “In the beginning of the war, the joke about me in our squad was that I call the soldiers I command ‘students.’ It’s not easy to stay strong psychologically for so long. For me, knowing that the high school and boarding school in Mitzpe were running well, and also absorbing children evacuated from Kibbutz Erez – it was a major source of strength.” 

For Dor, leading soliders is similar to guiding his students.

Dor admits that “I was concerned about going home. I thought that it would be hard for me to return to my day-to-day as a school principal, that it would be hard to explain what it was like there, in Gaza. It’s strange to say, but reserve duty is actually the most sane place in Israel. There are clear tasks and goals that connect between the soldiers. Of course there are also different opinions and tribes, but in the end, you learn to get to know one another deeply.” 

With help from his students, Ido transitions back to life as a teacher.

Ido (33), a teacher at Dror Israel’s high school, tell us, “Going back to routine is obviously difficult. The difference is like night and day between what you did there, and what you do in your day-to-day. But in the end, during the war you think to yourself: What life am I going to go back to? Will I be content? I was very happy to return to the high school, to my students and the staff, and I think that says everything. My first day back at school, I let the students ask me anything, and they were curious and sensitive. This let me mix the two worlds a bit – the war and education – and made a smoother transition to educational work.” 

Yair worried about his preschool students, even while fighting.

Yair (39) is a preschool teacher at Dror preschool, also in Mitzpe Ramon. “There is an unbearable conflict between being a preschool educator and being an infantry sergeant fighting in Gaza,” he said. “I went to war hoping that my small actions and those of my friends could make the lives of my beloved preschool students better and safer.” 

During the war, the preschool absorbed two evacuated kids from the Gaza border area. “The preschool staff made impressive efforts to create a warm and sheltered atmosphere. While I still had access to my phone, I following what was going on at the preschool – it gave me strength to keep going. I tried to bring the soft and empathetic voice of the preschool teacher to the harsh male atmosphere of the reserve unit. I hope I succeeded, even a little.” 

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