Path of success: A Navy captain’s journey to the top

Matan Chazan (22) was honored as the outstanding soldier of the 125th class of Navy captains at Wednesday’s graduation

Date: 07/09/2012, 6:04 PM     Author: Matan Galin

At Wednesday’s (September 5) graduation ceremony for the 125th class of Navy captains, Commander in Chief of the Navy Vice Adm. Ram Rothberg presented each of the graduates with a Navy officer’s pin and the rank of lieutenant. One of these graduates, Matan Chazan (22) was singled out for a special honor: the designation of outstanding soldier of the graduating class.

Matan hails from Ma’a lot. He has five brothers, one of them a navigator serving with the Air Force. At first, Matan thought of serving with a commando unit in the infantry, but with time he realized that his aims were higher. “I knew I wanted to give more than the ordinary three years; I wanted to contribute more. I consulted with my brother who had graduated the pilot’s course, and he spoke of the advantages of the Navy captain’s course had over the pilot’s course. I realized I wanted to combine command with education. I wanted to go through a process with soldiers, to help enact a small change that might grow into something bigger.

The Navy combines these things – command and education, personal exhaustion, and coping with difficulties,” he said.
Matan is a graduate of both a religious high school and a pre-military preparatory program, the latter headed by Rabbi Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz, Chief Military Rabbi of the IDF (Zahal). “He is the man who influenced me the most in the choices I’ve made,” said Matan. “At first, all you are doing is crawling through the sand and eating dirt. But once you enter the studies, you slowly start contemplating and thinking about the nature of your service. These questions shaped my service, and I think my success is directly tied to it.”

To those struggling with the question of where to serve, Matan recommended stopping to think and resisting the temptation to choose the easy path. “To anyone debating, I would say to look at the future and not the short term, even if it is difficult. Things that are only in the here and now are not worthwhile, because what is achieved easily disappears easily,” he said. “Only those who have suffered the dusty path will seek fresh air.”

The key to success in the captain’s course, according to Matan, is personal relationships. “This is the basis for everything,” he said. “Everything depends on how much space you leave for others. The moment you place yourself outside the center of attention, others recognize this and will give you a lot more. That really puts the whole thing in a nutshell.”