Turning a Vehicle of War Into an Instrument of Peace

From The Observers.

In the Hebrew Bible it is said that a time of universal peace will see swords turned into plowshares. One Israeli reserve solider, Dror Gomel (36), has decided to reverse the biblical sequence by turning his army vehicle, known as a Nagmash (body of a Centurion tank), into a melodic percussion instrument and a message of peace.

Gomel, a professional percussionist and special education teacher, can be seen in the video, which was shot in southern Israel, playing the front end of his armored car to the delight of his infantry. The words he recites: “No more war, no more bloodshed”, were famously uttered by the late Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at the 1978 signing of the peace accords with Egypt.

Gomel posted the video on his facebook page with the comment: “Last week I was on reserve duty. There I met the cream of Israeli society: all kinds, types and colours. People who are willing to give their time to their society. We have a strong and excellent army. And our hand is extended towards peace all the time. I dedicate this video to all my reservist friends wherever they may be.”

Dror Gomel:

Ever since I became familiar with this army vehicle, I have been playing it. It just so happens that now my friends decided to film it. The main message is that although we excel at fighting with this vehicle, we prefer to transform it into a musical instrument. If only all the instruments of war would turn into musical instruments.

Before publishing this, I thought a lot and consulted with friends about the responses I might get: Am I hurting the image of the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces]? Does the IDF come across looking weak? Do the Israeli soldiers look unserious? Will the message of universal peace translate?

In the end, I decided to publish it because I believe the video sheds light on the positive and human side of the Israeli soldier. If only all the instruments of war would turn into musical instruments.”

Dima Shimelfarb, graduate student in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University; lives in New York City.

I loved this clip! This is my IDF. Every one could make a different interpretation of this episode depending on where they would start their story. Someone will see in these soldiers those occupiers who are going to punish Palestinians and take their lands. Someone will see simple men, who are human and like doing normal things like play music, make fun, or love each other.. Somebody will just see them as the reserve soldiers who take a break between military trainings.

My story that connects me to this clip starts 20 years ago. This is a story of a Jewish kid who didn’t have friends and was bullied by local anti-Semites in one of the big Russian cities. I moved to Israel on my own after the collapse of the Soviet Union and joined the IDF. I was a “lone soldier”, and that was the first time in my life when I found friends and was truly accepted. They taught me how to overcome my fears and be proud of who I am. They trained and pushed me beyond a point of physical pain. They loved and cared about me.

Watching this clip made me miss my brothers, made me want to go back to Israel and serve in the reserve (Miluim). I remember many moment like this when we laughed and tried to find ways to be “normal”, to be ourselves, or just to be.

Whatever story you choose to tell yourself will define who you are, so be aware of the aftertaste you will have to live with.”

For more videos of Gomel drumming in the messianic era, visit the Observers.


One response to “Turning a Vehicle of War Into an Instrument of Peace

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Roi. I appreciate the spirit of it and Dmitry’s candid and moving reflection…

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