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Daily Lyric: SHIVTA

49 klicks south of the nearest town

7 away from the border

Nothing but sand and rocks for miles around

Light-years away from any water

The windblown dust sticks to everything

The heat can break the strongest man

There's nothing here but suffering

Get out of here while you still can

It's the second most desolate place in the land

It's your last stand

It's the middle of nowhere


Why would anyone put down roots here


Beyond the wildest frontier

Come nightfall the cannons boom

As the war games progress

And you can't find any room

To put your mind to rest

It's the second most depressing hole in the nation

Just desolation


Shivta, Shivta, Shivta (FOOY!)

Shivta's no place to be

Get out while you still can . . .

Get out while you still can

Shivta, Shivta, Shivta (PTOOY!)

Shivta eats you up inside

Nowhere nowhere to run to

Nowhere nowhere to hide

©2024 The Hesh Inc.

Tomat at Sunset
Photo by Adam Xavier Dahan ... hazak uvaruch!

Shivta is the location of the Israel Defense Forces field artillery school (I don't think I'm really compromising any security by saying this, since it is clearly visible on Google Earth). I did several short stints there during the course of my service—advanced training and several regimental and group-level field maneuvers. You can really feel like you're cut off from the rest of the world in a place like that, and I often did. The weekly phone call home was a lifeline to sanity. (I often say that if social media existed when I did my service, I'd have had an easier time of it all.) Most of the time the weather is hot, dry, and dusty, but for two weeks out of the year, usually in December, it rains almost incessantly; also when the dust storms blow in from the south, you can be knee-deep and coated in sand by the time the whole thing is over. And wouldn't it be my dumb stupid luck—I happened to be there during both of these phenomena.

As for the song ... I wrote it during an artillery group maneuver in the summer of 1987. (If you are an aficionado of "old school" Jewish music, you can sing the last two stanzas to the tune of "Achat Sha'alti" ... figure it out.)

I call it the "second most godforsaken place in the land" because of something one of my friends serving at an infantry base further down the highway, deeper into the desert, told me once: "In Shivta, the flowers stick their heads out of the ground, sniff the air, and say 'eh, it's hot and dry here, but I can deal.' Where I am, though, the flowers stick their heads out of the ground and die right away."


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