Sometimes, you don’t need to go far to feel at home: it is enough to look at your twin sibling serving in the same unit and perhaps even in the same role. In honor of Family Day, we met three pairs of twins: simulator instructors, “Sky Rider” fighters and system technicians, who are not apart for a moment
Mai Efrat, Shir Golan and Lilach Gonen | Photography: Yonatan Zalk
Luckily, the twins of the Sela family wear name tags on their blue overalls; otherwise it would be very difficult to tell them apart. Not only are they almost entirely identical, they also speak the same words, joke with the same jokes, walk the same way and have similar smiles.
First Sergeant Tzur and First Sergeant Tzach, or “Tzuch”, as they are called at the airbase, serve at the system division at Ramat-David airbase as heads of the electricity crew. “We didn’t think we’d get drafted to the same place. We both wanted to be combat soldiers and thought we’d be on opposite sides of the country”, says Tzur, “And then we were offered this role, and Mom persisted. So we studied in the same classroom, in the same course, and we finally arrived at a good place with other professional people”.
Tzach and Tzur are happy that they were able to spend their military service alongside one another, but admit that it has had its downsides as well. “We would have liked to see what it’s like to cope on your own”, they both say. “We wonder what would happen if we weren’t known as ‘the twins’”.
When First Sergeant Bar Leset, a simulator instructor, heard that she was moving from Ramon airbase to the simulator squadron at Palmachim airbase, she was initially sad. “I loved the squadron, and it’s scary to suddenly move to a new place”, she remembers. On the other hand, there were quite a few advantages: the transition to a large and professional organization, the proximity to her home in Rehovot, and mainly the warm welcome from Rotem, her twin sister and a simulator instructor at the same squadron.
Before getting drafted, Bar was considering a role in the Intelligence while Rotem wanted to be a class commander. When they heard by chance about the Simulator Instructor role, the two girls decided to try their luck. After they both successfully passed the examinations, they were close throughout basic training, and even went through the same course in Hatzerim. “In basic training were actually separated”, Bar points out, “But in the course we already sat next to each other in class”, says Rotem. “It caused the beginning of military service to be easier and more fun”.
At the end of the course, Rotem was sent to be a UAV trainer, and Bar to become a combat helicopter trainer. When the training squadron at Palmachim was expanded the two were reunited. Now they sleep next door to each other at the airbase as well as at home, and support each other all throughout. “It’s not an easy role. You need to stand in front of the most executive people and now how to instruct with much confidence. At the end of the day we’re 21-years-old, with a lot of assertiveness for our age”, says Bar.
My Brother the Hero
Private Gal and Private Omer not only trained together in preparation for their military service, but also fulfilled their dream and became fighters in the UAV unit of the artillery corps, the “Sky Rider” unit.
“Everyone knows ‘the twins’ in the unit, people get excited over the fact that we’re together”, says Gal. Now that they’re side by side, their unit members have time to carefully examine the differences before they split into different crews. “After a certain time period, people understand that you can tell the difference between us and that each of us is a different person”.
Even though the two younger boys of the family became combat soldiers, the atmosphere at home is calm. “I feel like it’s less of a burden on our mother because we’re together. She trusts us to take care of each other”, says Gal. “She knows we’re not alone so she worries less”. “It’s also nice that there’s someone to ride to the base with come Sunday morning and someone to send your laundry with when you have to stay at the base on a weekend”, adds Gal.