Com­pa­ny C: An Amer­i­can’s Life as a Cit­i­zen-Sol­dier in Israel

  • Review
By – August 16, 2012
Com­pa­ny C is an hon­est and evoca­tive sto­ry told by Haim Watz­man, an Amer­i­can, who immi­grat­ed to Israel to become a writer and trans­la­tor. Drawn to Judaism through books, and not Zion­ism, Watz­man began to evolve and define him­self as a Jew who want­ed to move to Israel. After set­tling there, he was draft­ed into the army, and when his 18 months of com­pul­so­ry ser­vice expired, he was assigned to a reserve infantry, Com­pa­ny C, where he spent almost 20 years of his life devot­ed to reserve ser­vice for at least one month every year. What makes Watzman’s sto­ry so unique and absorb­ing is that he is a reli­gious­ly obser­vant Jew who opposed Israel’s mil­i­tary pres­ence and even­tu­al set­tle­ment into occu­pied ter­ri­to­ries, but still served his coun­try and con­tin­ued with reserve duty despite his per­son­al beliefs. Com­pa­ny C chron­i­cles the every­day tales of mil­i­tary duty, as it involves the read­er in the col­or­ful cast of char­ac­ters who make up mil­i­tary life, those who are reli­gious or sec­u­lar, gay or straight, all form­ing alliances through their duty to serve. An inter­est­ing and extreme­ly infor­ma­tive book, this is an enjoy­able read for those drawn to the nov­el Infil­tra­tion by the Israeli author Yehoshua Kenaz. Com­pa­ny C offers anoth­er win­dow, from the point of view of an Amer­i­can serv­ing in the army, and is an excel­lent book for those who enjoy read­ing first-hand accounts of mil­i­tary ser­vice in the Israeli army.
Bar­bara S. Cohen is a tri­al attor­ney in Los Ange­les who spe­cial­izes in child abuse cas­es. She is a mem­ber of NAMI and a sup­port­er of NARSAD, and is an advo­cate for those who suf­fer from men­tal illness.

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