At Caliber 3, the most popular counter-terrorism training center in Israel, Israeli ex-commandos teach trainees how to shoot weapons and fight with the Grav Maga discipline — to defend against terrorists.
Sharon Galit, the founder of the Caliber 3, trains police officers, private security guards and settlers — many of whom are building across the West Bank of Palestine and have easy access to Israeli weapons permits.
Galit established Caliber 3 after losing is brother in an attack in Gaza.
In Israel, security is fundamental.
At Caliber 3, it is possible to take private lessons. At a private lesson that I attended, the instructor Eitan Cohen gave a two-hour training to an American family from Sacramento: a mother, father and their three sons.
Eitan explained to the family that Caliber 3 is “the house of counter terrorism for Jews” as well as supporters of the State of Israel from all over the world.
Cohen insisted on the importance of one’s ability to protect oneself because: “If we close our eyes again, something like the Holocaust can come back in a second.” At Caliber 3, it is important to keep ones eye open and always be ready to protect oneself. The purpose of the program and the trainings at Caliber 3, in the words of Cohen, it is “not to kill or to start fights but to defend and protect one self and other Jews.”
When practiced together by an entire family, outdoor activities, excursions and sports function as a binding agent, reinforcing relations and team-building. These experiences shape one’s characher and can become important memories to reflect upon when children become adults. Family bonding activities are no doubt ordinary social practices in every culture.
Yet, what mark will the family experience associated with violence leave on the minds of young Maxwell, Ezekiel and Nathaniel?
Why would a Californian family on holiday in Israel choose to go to Caliber 3 to learn how to shoot automatic weapons designed for war? Lili Kenter, the mother of these three boys, explains: “I wanted my kids to understand the importance for the State of Israel to have an army, I wanted them to understand how brave these soldiers are and what they really do. They carry weapons and they kill, but they really protect the State of Israel.”