YOUNG ISRAELI ARMY conscripts with minor disabilities, such as heart murmurs and epilepsy, are sent to Training Base 4 for basic training. Some come from large cities, some from kibbutzim; some were born in Israel, some are new immigrants from Eastern Europe or Arab countries. Infiltration tells the story of one platoon’s experience, a group of soldiers who represent all Israelis during the early years of their nation.
Melabbes is determined to stay separate, self-contained from the rigid routines and power plays of military life. From his detached stance we observe the other members of the platoon: Avner, a reckless romantic whose mother worked for the families of the wealthier, Ashkenazi recruits known as “the Jerusalemites”; Alon, the proud and patriotic kibutznik; Miller, a German epileptic and survivor of the concentration camps; and Micky, a famous soccer player who only recently discovered he has a heart murmur. The platoon’s sadistic drill sergeant has found in the army a way to transform himself from a student ridiculed and ostracized into someone who can literally make or break lives.
Infiltration takes place sometime in the 1950s, but it is a universal story of loss of innocence, exposing the darker side of the military process of “making men out of boys.”