Departures / Arrivals: 'Israeli Unity Will Defeat Everyone'

After growing his roots in Israel, Adolfo is finally ready to visit his birthplace, Argentina.

Liat Elkayam
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Adolfo Ezeauiel.
Adolfo Ezeauiel.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Liat Elkayam

Adolfo Ezeauiel, 29, lives in Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha; flying to Buenos Aires

Hello, can I ask to where you’re flying?

Adolfo: I’m going on a “roots trip” – to see Argentina, the country where I was born, with my girlfriend and future wife, God willing.

When did you immigrate to Israel?

Twenty-four years ago, when I was nearly 5.

Do you have any memories from Argentina?

Adolfo: I don’t remember much. There are flashes of things from childhood – like taking a bike from a neighbor and riding it and then claiming it was mine. But that’s a memory that every Israeli could have of his childhood.

Sounds like you’re excited about the trip.

Adolfo: For sure, I’m very excited. I want to see the house I grew up in, the hospital where I was born. It’s an hour’s drive from the capital of Cordova, but Cordova is where I grew up. I still have family there, aunts and uncles. Something like 10 percent of my family is still there, and this is my first trip.

Why only now?

Adolfo: I think it took me all this time, because from the moment I came to Israel I felt that Israel was my official home. I felt that my roots were here. I served in the army, I worked, I suffered. There’s no substitute for Israel.

What triggered your family’s immigration?

Adolfo: It was because my whole family is Jewish. Because the Jews of the world make aliyah. It’s mainly the need to live in a Jewish community. And, you know, the Jewish population of Argentina has shrunk a great deal. There are hardly any Jews there, and Islam is all over the place, in spades. Everywhere.

Where do you intend to visit?

Our flights are like this: Buenos Aires, Cordova, Bariloche and then on to Chile. We’re going for two months.

How did you get so much time off from work?

Adolfo: I stopped working. I was a line driver at Kibbutz Nahal Oz for half a year, with career-army employment conditions. I’m actually making this trip after my third stint of army service.

What does a line driver do?

Adolfo: He drives a David armored vehicle, which is supposedly bulletproof, though there are some bullets that penetrate it. The line I drove is very active, it’s manned 24/7 – the “Gaza envelope” sector. We protect the population of the kibbutzim there from the north to the south. Each unit takes a sector and patrols it nonstop.

How long does a typical shift last?

Adolfo: From about 5 A.M. until about 8 P.M. It’s tough. You sleep on the move. But who’s going to do the work in our place? If we don’t take the job? It’s a problem.

But three times in a row?

Adolfo: Listen, I’ll tell you the truth: I am extreme right politically, and I think that it’s a commandment to safeguard the land. Besides that, I went back to the army because it’s a place where I felt a sense of belonging. I was in a classified unit in my regular army service. I always do reserve duty – I love doing reserve duty. It’s part of my nature to wear a uniform, it’s what I always wanted to do. My ambition and my dream was to be in the army. In the army I raced forward, to be ahead of the other officers – even as a sergeant I discovered their mistakes.

So much army – when did you have time to meet your girlfriend?

Adolfo: In the army, of course. Two months before my discharge, I was on the base and I entered the web site loveme – and by the way, she’s Argentine, too; she immigrated at the age of 2 from Buenos Aires. Coincidence.

What’s the plan when you get back?

Adolfo: Work, life, taking in Israeliness. But maybe not Israeli behavior. Take that incident with the chocolate on a flight [when an Israeli woman verbally abused a flight attendant in an incident involving duty-free chocolate]. That’s disgraceful. From my point of view, that is not Israeli.

What does being Israeli actually mean?

Unity in sad moments – but too bad it doesn’t exist in happy times, too. You only see it on Independence Day. Our unity will defeat everyone, otherwise we will lose everything.

From left, Omer Amrani, 28, lives in Tel Aviv; Haim Edri, 37, lives in Tel Aviv; and Ishai Bar, 37, lives in Givatayim; Ishai and Haim are arriving from Amsterdam

Hello, can I ask where you’re coming from?

Omer Amrani, Haim Edri and Ishai Bar.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Ishai: From Haim’s bachelor party in Amsterdam.

How was it?

Haim: At first we thought about prostitutes, drugs and gambling; we ended up with gambling.

Ishai: But with a whale of a story, that no one can explain.

Haim: We both have a background in mathematics, and it’s just off the wall!

Let’s hear it.

Haim: We were in Amsterdam. A beautiful city.

Ishai: Mostly parks, also shopping and drinking.

Haim: I bought a shirt for the wedding at some fancy store; we blew plenty on meals.

Ishai: He doesn’t stop to count.

Haim: And then we went to a casino. Ishai persuaded me to gamble, pulled me to a roulette table. I bet 20 euros. You pick a number, and the odds are 37-1. My wedding date is 6.10.2015. I played 6 and won! The first time in my life I ever played roulette and I won! Unreal. In the next round I played 10 and won again!

Ishai: Unbelievable.

Haim: What are the odds of winning twice in a row? And then comes another round. What was left? Only 2015. I put half on 20 and half on 15. Remember: It was the third time in a row that I bet on my wedding date. I took that round, too.


Haim: We did a calculation; we went to the Technion, you know. The odds against winning three times in a row are 50,000 to one, something like that. So what next? Get religion, or what?

Tomer (the photographer): There are people who’d do just that.

How much did you win?

We won 500 euros and lost 50 euros, so we made back part of the money we blew on the trip.

You say “we” because you shared?

Haim: I shared with him.

Ishai: He’ll remind me of that for all time.

Haim: And when we were about to fly back, something else off the wall happened ... There was a delay in the flight.

Ishai: They called a technician, there was something wrong. We get served a sandwich. We sat on the plane for six hours. In the end they sent us to a hotel in The Hague. And then, at 2 A.M., we got on a bus back to the airport.

Haim: The amazing thing was that we were with Israelis, 300 people, and no one lost their cool. It all went well. I was sure there would be chaos. I was really proud of us. Wait a minute – here’s Omer!

Greetings to the bride! What did you do while he was away?

Omer: I stayed here. And I picked up the rings.

How was your bachelorette party?

Omer: It was on the beach, a few close girlfriends, a few beers. I wanted a male stripper, but none of the others agreed.

Congratulations to you both! I hope there aren’t too many errands left to take care of.

Omer: We’ve checked off the whole list.

Haim: Besides which, we are people who hate weddings. We’re not into these productions  ... So we’re doing it in a more relaxed way, 100 people.

What did your parents say?

Haim: At first they grumbled, but then it was fine.

Where did you meet?

Omer: A relative of mine introduced us.

Haim: I was renting an apartment from him.

How did that happen?

Omer: I was talking to the relative and he said he had a few nice people renting his place. I told him I wanted the details about each of them. Like in a quiz: Behind curtain number one is X, and these are his attributes; behind curtain No. 2

So how were Haim’s attributes?

Omer: The most attractive. He also loved life a lot, so I said: I’ll start with him and see where it leads.

Haim: I still can’t get over that thing with the wedding date. It’s wild. And what were the odds that you would decide to talk to us for the newspaper? That’s the third weird thing that’s happened. It’s impossible to calculate the odds for that.