“Army Service Changed My Life”

“I think the moral of the story is not to give up on oneself” After he was injured by a mortar bomb during Operation “Pillar of Defense”, Sergeant Aviran Hindi was determined to serve as an “Iron Dome” interceptor and underwent a transformation to make his dream come true

Naomi Tzoref

Many soldiers, mostly those who service in combat positions, claim that army service has a profound effect on their lives. Sergeant Aviran Hindi, an interceptor at one of the “Iron Dome” batteries, is one of those soldiers whose life was completely changed during his army service. He was born in London and lived there until the age of 18. “When I graduated high school, my family decided to immigrate to Israel and my father, who was combat soldier during the Six-Day War, encouraged me to draft”, he says. “I drafted into the IAF and at that point I weighed 127kg, which gave me an especially low medical profile”.

Although his aptitude assessment score was high, his medical profile prevented him from drafting as a combat soldier and at the end of boot camp he was assigned to work with the Master Sergeant of the Aerial Defense School. “I was in boot camp during Operation ‘Pillar of Defense’ and we went on a tour of the south”, he says when talking about the first time he experienced the security situation from up close. “At one point, I was injured by the blast of a falling bomb shell. In London, we knew what was happening in Israel but it was impossible to compare the images on TV with the reality on a daily basis. And so, I realized the importance of the ‘Iron Dome’ and moreover, I realized that I wanted to serve as an interceptor at one of the batteries”.

Sergeant Aviran decided to take his life in hands and to do everything in his power to make his dream come true. “Everyone told me it was impossible, but I didn’t give up. I started exercising and when I felt that I had reached my limits, I didn’t stop”. Slowly, but surely, Sergeant Aviran began to get in shape and managed to raise his medical profile to a suitable profile for combat positions; by the end of combat boot camp he weighed 91kg. “I think the moral of the story is that everyone needs to do what he/she physically and mentally can in order to contribute in his/her job in a way that will lead to a sense of satisfaction, not to settle for comfort, and, of course, never to give up on oneself”.

Upon finishing boot camp, Hindi went on to complete the interceptors’ course and became an interceptor at an “Iron Dome” battery. “I have a few friends from London whom I convinced to draft and they have immigrated to Israel”, he says. “Others support Israel through other activities. Everyone appreciates me and supports me. There’s no doubt that army service changed my life.”