In the IDF, ‘Lonely Soldier‘ is a term that describes soldiers serving on active duty who have no family is Israel. These are volunteers that came to serve for 3-5 years. They typically go back to their respective countries upon completion. Most commonly, these are people who immigrated to Israel by themselves. I was one of them.

While in Israel, I lived in an apartment building where the majority of people were lonely soldiers. It was located on the outer ring of Jerusalem, surrounded by four Arab villages. My roommates were two recon guys (like me) and one who worked in field intel. All of the other inhabitants were soldiers from various units, with most of them serving a combat role. It was a well known thing, especially to the Arabs in the village. Most of the time we wouldn’t be there, but when we were on leave, we would come to the apartment for a little R&R. It was rare that the four of us were there at the same time, but once in a blue moon, it did happen.

Each village had, as is customary, its own mosque. When the time for prayer came, the loudspeakers would call out to the faithful. It was OK, we were used to it. However, over the weekend they would make it a point to play the call to prayer very, and I mean VERY, loud. They knew soldiers would be in the building trying to get some sleep – recovering from several weeks in the field. This always annoyed me but there was nothing I could do.

On this particular weekend, after an intense seven weeks of non-stop ops, all I wanted was to go to the apartment, sleep, eat, sleep some more and then sleep again. That weekend the four of us were at the apartment and we were all equally tired. We arrived Thursday night and after a small dinner and some beers, we went to sleep. At 0400 we all jumped….