ENLISTED: WEST BANK
Episode 1- The Night Raid
Guys in military uniforms, faces covered, ride through the ancient city of Hebron,
the burial place of the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs, at night in an armored vehicle.
High tension. No talking. Focus.
The vehicle stops abruptly and the soldiers pile out, moving quickly to an apartment block.
A few set up a perimeter while four armed men, not in uniform, rush inside. They look around,
and up and down, for any threats. No one from the congested, hostile neighborhood is outside yet.
But they will be. And they won’t like what is going on.
Seconds tick by, methodically. The soldiers can hear noises from inside— crying and things slamming
on the ground. A few locals emerge outside, cautiously, to see what is going on.
One of the soldiers, Josh, turns to the other and says, in American-accented English, “They need to hurry
the fuck up.” The other soldier looks at him and responds, half-jokingly, “No one forced you to come here.
And no one has put a gun to your head.”
“Yet,” Josh quips.
They both have a laugh at this. Then Josh says, “Well I guess this right here is the adventure I signed up for.”
His comrade, satirically: “It’s just like in the movies, isn’t it?”
Josh says he’d rather be getting sloshed watching Michigan beat Ohio State right now when another soldier,
in South African-accented English, says American football is a joke, that rugby is the man’s game.
Just as the American is about to retort—
A loud BAM comes from inside. They all look to see what happened. Cut to:
An old, worn down military classroom, the day before. Our unit arrives in Hebron, a viciously
divided West Bank city where 800 Jewish Israelis live amidst more than 200,000 Palestinians.
The Palestinian part of the city is de facto ruled by the terrorist group Hamas. Not a week goes by
without a terrorist attack or a thwarted terrorist attack or a riot or a violent internecine crime.
The city is so uniquely dangerous and complex that it has necessitated its own preparation course for
incoming soldiers. And it is in one of these courses that we join Josh, the American from the night raid,
along with his unit.
In the course, the instructor outlines the unique considerations in Hebron. She explains that Hebron is the most
contentious city in the West Bank and that they can expect a very hostile Arab population, an extremist Jewish
population that does not always respect their state’s authority, hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists
(many of whom are Israelis) and constant international media attention.
There are long standing blood feuds between the Arab tribes in the city, she says, but the Israeli army
and police must stay out of any intra-Arab affairs, hard as it might be to see the victims, aftermath, and suffering.
Casualties, of Arabs, Jews, soldiers, should be expected.
A high ranking officer comes in and tells them that Palestinians are not their enemy and that they must know
the difference between terrorists and civilians. A soldier asks him how exactly to do that.The officer tells him,
the soldier, that he’ll know. The officer smiles and leaves.
Josh walks out into the glaring sunlight and puts on his wood frame sunglasses. He jokes with his friends
in the unit that he is from Detroit and so is not concerned about Hebron. One of his friends points out that he
is from a suburb of a Detroit. Josh says it still counts, motherfucker, and shoves him.
Cut to a black background interview with Josh, which was conducted after his time in Hebron. Josh talks about how
he really felt at that time, which was a mix of excitement, at finally being able to do what he went over there to do,
and trepidation, at going to such a high-risk area. But ultimately he felt okay because he would be with his boys.
He smiles, then pauses for a second. He looks down, then looks away…
The Cave of the Patriarchs is a building and series of caves in Hebron which may very well be the actual
burial site of the biblical Patriarchs and is the second holiest site in Judaism. It is also a flashpoint for monthly and
sometimes weekly violence.
Outside the cave, we see Tal, an attractive female American volunteer, from Phoenix, in the Israeli Border Patrol
(a paramilitary unit in the Israeli police force), standing guard with 2 of her comrades. She sees small Arab children,
the children of shopkeepers across from the Cave, playing with each other in front her. She smiles.
A group of four tourists, European by the looks of it, approach her entrance gate. She asks them for their passports.
They give them to her and she reviews the names: Rosenberg, Schwartz.
“Are you Jewish?” she asks. They are taken aback and one of the tourists asks why? She explains that this entrance,
the one which leads inside the cave, is forbidden for Jews.
The tourist can’t believe it: Israeli security personnel preventing him from going in. He starts to argue, forcefully.
Tal doesn’t budge and it starts to get more heated. A burly senior officer comes out and explains, calmly, but firmly,
that it is not possible for them to enter.
A group of middle aged Arab men on the other side of the gate start to holler and try to sell the tourists to
hire them as guides for the Cave. The burly officer tells them to save their breath: these are Jews. The Arab men
walk away dejectedly. The tourists go to the other entrance.
Tal tells the officer that she was handling it fine and didn’t need his help. The officer smiles and says she
is still too nice. Tal can sense the condescension, but lets it go. One of her comrades, a young Israel guy,
tell her to accept all the help she can get in this
“If someone offers, take!” he says. She shakes her head.
We interview Tal’s comrade and he says she is a great patrolwoman. But that he has no idea why the fuck she came to
this place when she could be living it up in college and partying!
We go back to Josh, who is riding in vehicle through the West Bank. We see high netting, like at a golf driving range,
on the side of the road. Josh asks what that’s all about and one of the soldiers tells him it is to prevent Arabs from
throwing Molotov Cocktails.
Approaching Hebron, all we see are religious Jews and Palestinians who glare at the military vehicle.
The vehicle approaches and enters a stripped down military base (really more of an outpost). Josh gets out with all
of his stuff and looks around.
Interview with Josh, outside (indicating that it was taken at the time, as opposed to the black background which
were taken after his time there): “Yeah I don’t know how the fuck I ended up here (laughs). Seemed like a good idea
at the time? No, I guess… I guess I just wanted an adventure.”
His friend comes up to the camera, like it’s a post game interview and says, “I just want all of
America to know that this guy is a pussy.”
Josh shoves him. His friend says, “But you know, I love pussy.”
Josh again: “That’s the thing about it here, as you can see, everyone speaks English, a lot of places look
just like home, I mean, not here, but in Tel Aviv and most of Israel, but this place, all of it, it’s not home.
Thinking it’s home can get you, or worse your guys, killed. It’s not what it seems. Nothing out here is…”
An older enlisted soldier comes over to Josh and his friends and tells them to get in the kitchen for cooking
and cleaning detail. One of Josh’s friends starts to protest, but is immediately shut down, and told this isn’t
some soft ass Air Force base.
In the kitchen, the guys trade stories they have heard about Hebron. None of them sounds like fun.
Josh changes the subject and the guys ask him about life in the US. Most of their questions indicate
that they think daily life in the United States is like American Pie or an episode of Friends, where everyone
is rich, every weekend is a big party, and life is a breeze.
The guys finish, and go to a briefing. The officer explains the mission to them for the next four months:
preventing terrorism against Israeli civilians and maintaining the peace in Hebron. The security forces stopped
400 major terrorist plots last year, but many still succeeded, killing innocent men, women, and children.
They all take this in, and then mount up for their first patrol. They walk out of the front gates.
Back to Tal at her post. She looks and sees Josh and his unit walk past. Josh sees her and smiles and waves.
They came over at the same time and met in a pre-army preparation class for international volunteers.
On his first patrol walking through the city, with its crumbling buildings, twisting streets, steep inclines,
and cramped quarters. Josh sees that all of their talk was pretty on point. You can sense the tension in the air.
It really feels like anything could pop off at any moment. Lots of nasty looks.
His officer goes into a building with a couple soldiers. As Josh is waiting outside, a small boy approaches
him and shows him a soccer ball. Josh says, in English, that his game is ice hockey, but he’ll do his best (laughs).
His comrades tell him to ignore the kid, but Josh wants to bridge cultures.
It’s heartwarming, until you see Israeli army snipers on the adjoining rooftops who are making sure no
one shoots Josh while he is distracted, as has happened to other enlistees.
They start playing soccer and some locals start to watch, disapprovingly. The officer comes back and is livid.
Why is Josh playing games? He explains, loudly, that when children approach you here they either want to
pickpocket you, spy on you, or stab you. Beyond that, he asks why wasn’t Josh covering him while he was inside?
Josh pushes back and says he was trying to improve local relations. The officer tells him this isn’t The Andy Griffith
where everyone is nice and everything is okay.
Tal is back on her base and in a briefing. They have good intel that there will be a major attack coming up and to
stay extra vigilant at their posts. Over dinner in the mess hall, Tal discusses mundane, everyday topics with the
other girls in her unit. Except for their clothes and the drab decor, they could easily be in a college dorm dining hall.
Josh is laying on his bed and checking Facebook on his phone. He is bummed out. The photos show some of
his old high school hockey buddies partying and at college football games. His South African comrade starts up
again about football and rugby. Josh: “There are actual fist fights in hockey.” His buddy retorts that they still wear
Josh: “Well, maybe we will be able to put it to the test out there during a patrol or raid, which is more useful:
your rugby tackling or my hockey fighting.”
Just then, their officer barks at Josh to come outside. He explains, calmly, to Josh that his actions
could have put lives in danger.
Israelis tend to see international and especially American volunteers through one of 3 lenses,
which usually reveals more about the Israeli than the volunteer, but not always— after all, a shithead is a shithead
in any culture. (1) They have a lot of respect for a person who would give up comfort and fly to this mess or
(2) they see volunteers as suckers who have bought into some ideological bullshit or (3) they see American
volunteers as a mix of naive, arrogant and entitled.
This officer sees Josh as a combination of (2) being a sucker and of (3) being arrogant—
why else would Josh argue against him and think he knows best about how to improve relations with locals?
Also, Josh always waits in the back of the line when food is passed out, as if he is waiting to be served—
whereas Josh just thinks he is being polite by waiting patiently and not shoving ahead like a child.
The officer tells Josh that he has to stay on base during the next leave in a couple weeks.
As Josh turns away, the officer also tells him to unfuck himself because they are heading
out tonight on a raid.
Cut to a TV news segment: “There was a major riot in Hebron last night, details are still
coming out but it appears as if there was at least one casualty..”
Back to Josh, in a voiceover on top of him getting his gear together for the raid, explains
that they had good intel about a midlevel suspect in town and the mission was to roll up, grab him, and go.
Short and sweet.
We see what we saw in the opening scene— the vehicle rolling up, the guys jumping out.
And the BAM from before, which was a rock hitting the side of the vehicle. A woman in a hijab comes
running out of the building’s door and is yelling as loudly as she can.
For some reason, she runs towards Josh and begs him to stop them from taking her husband, he thinks?
Josh looks around for his officer. He tells him to shut her up and control her. Josh looks at her.
Drawn by her yelling, a crowd starts to form and yell. No sign on the guys inside. Another rock hits the side
of the vehicle with a loud thud. And a huge one skips past him.
Cut to Tal, who is sleeping. She is woken up and told to get ready. A raid went wrong and they have to go act as reinforcements.
Back to Josh, we see a soldier take a rock to the face and crumble to the ground. They radio in for reinforcements.
Josh tells the woman to be quiet. She continues yelling and starts hitting him. The crowd gets larger.
A medic attends to the soldier on the ground. Still no sign of the guys inside.
The mob of about 25-30 military age men starts to move closer. Josh remembers hearing that the last time
there was a mob at night, someone got killed.
They will able to overrun Josh and his unit in about 20-30 seconds, max. Which can’t happen.
Side by side with his friends, Josh prepares himself to fight.
End of Episode 1.
ENLISTED: WEST BANK Episode Arcs - Josh
Episode 1: The Night Raid
-Night raid in Hebron— halfway through the action, rewind to:
-Soldiers in the military training course for Hebron
-We meet Josh and enlistees from the US, and other parts of the world who are teamed up with Israelis
Instructor: “You are going into the beast”
They see what to do in likely, nasty situations
-Arrival in Hebron
Josh Sees netting by the road— they learn it’s to prevent Molotov Cocktails
-Guys talk in anticipation of how messed up they’ve heard Hebron is
-But then show real life on base:
Older guys on base make Josh do kitchen duty, clean
AND he still has to do his actual combat job.
-First time outside the base —> First time engaging with locals
Seems like a lot of animosity swirling in the in the air, in general
Locals know they are new, fuck with them, test them
-Josh has a problem with an officer in his unit over a cultural misunderstanding
Officer comes down hard on him and prevents him from taking leave
-No time to sulk: they have to do a quick run through of a last-minute Night Raid
A US news report says there was a night raid/ riot in Hebron
Cuts before we hear any details
The action picks up where we left off at the start of the episode
The plan goes awry and takes longer than expected
Josh is in a precarious situation
Cut just as the security situation appears to be most precarious, with the mob closing in…
Episode 2: Assumptions Questioned
-A real US news report offers details on what happened in the Hebron night raid/ riot.
The depiction is far different from what Josh experienced/ what we’ve seen
-Cut back to the night raid scene from the end of episode 1, with the crowd closing in…
-Finally, the guys from inside come out with their man
They haul him into the vehicle and tell the soldiers to get in!
-No one saw who threw the rocks
The non-uniformed guys say they will deal with the rock throwers later
They need to get the injured guy to a hospital
-They drive off before the mob gets to them
-Tal, another American volunteer in the Border Patrol, whom we met in Episode 1, preps to rescue Josh’s unit
An officer comes in and tells her to stand down, that it’s all handled. False alarm
-Early morning scene. It seems like a different city than last night— now, it’s calm and almost serene.
-Josh out on patrol, watches locals get up to go to work,
Many of the locals have jobs in Israel
Some of them say hi to him, He sees they are not all filled with hate, terrorists, etc.
He learns that not everyone here fucking hates you
And that locals may hate their rulers, and local criminals, more than the Israelis
Crime rate is high in Hebron— assaults, grand theft auto, murders, etc.
-Back at base, Josh struggles with new training exercises due to the Hebrew-English language barrier
-Learns more about the internal Palestinian local conflicts
There are deep-seated tribal feuds that are essentially like gang or cartel rivalries
-Back on patrol, the guys do an impromptu dance routine
For the fun of it
Josh is surprised at this, since it would never happen in the US military
-Ends on the aftermath of an Arab-Arab killing, Josh can’t do anything
Episode 3: Retraining
-Finds out that the things he learned previously in the West Bank don’t work here
The Jewish settlers are far more confrontational with the army and with Palestinians
Josh has to, de facto, guard them as they do provocative things
A 30 year old Israeli woman hurls verbal abuse at an elderly Palestinian woman as the latter has to walk twice as long to her home
because of security considerations
All Josh can do is watch
The woman’s husband gets her and tells her to calm down
They are from Brooklyn, the man says to Josh. And their son was murdered last
year by a Palestinian who broke into their house in the middle of the night
-Josh starts to feel lonely, and misses his family
-A raucous Friday night dinner on base, complete with singing & toilet humor
-Experiences aftermath of his first terrorist attack in town
A young Israeli child is killed in a terrorist attack, not in Hebron
Widespread Palestinian celebrations in Hebron
-He must reconcile the humanity he has seen with the savagery on display now
Both for his own mentality, but more so as a tactical response: were the friendly
Palestinians acting or manipulating him?
Episode 4: Warfighter
-After the terrorist attack, the military decides to increase their presence in the area
More troops, more patrols, more raids
-We see a news report about the increased military presence and a riot in Hebron
-In response to the military’s actions, the Arab residents start a major riot in town
-Josh develops conflicted feelings about the locals, military policy, and the best way to deal with this riot
He wants to take initiative, but the orders are just to stay on the perimeter and contain it
-During this riot, Josh sees the theatricality of it all
The rioters know just how far they can advance and what they can do before the military will
The area is crawling with journalists, and the rioters and leaders seem to be performing for them in various ways
Some reporters are also situated on the military’s side of the affair and are trying to draw a
reaction out of the soldiers with provocations
-The reporters are drawn to Josh, since he is American
Josh can’t say anything to them, according to military law
This eats at him, since their questions indicate that they see the army as the bad guys here
-After some hours, the riot dies out
Nothing has really changed, except for some rioters getting arrested and this part of town, an
Arab section, being trashed
Episode 5: Party
-During the day’s patrol, Josh’s unit is approached by a young Palestinian man
The man offers to help them in this neighborhood with intelligence and other services
There is no officer with them and the man’s Hebrew sucks
so Josh speaks to him in English
After, the unit passes on the info to their officer
The guys in the unit have a conversation about whether they can trust the man or not
This is revealing since it brings out each man’s personal outlook on the greater situation in Hebron
-Josh begins to feel more integrated and senior on base
Does not have to do as much kitchen duty and cleaning, since younger soldiers have been
transferred to the base
-The unit is granted leave after 17 days on base
The officer threatens to keep Josh on base, but eventually lets him go on leave
-Josh is frustrated dealing with fish-out-of-water issues, esp. with banks, bureaucracy
Sitting at a Tel Aviv cafe, he wonders if a bag on the street is a bomb, or if someone just forgot their stuff?
Gets the runaround from a bank teller, so he can’t receive his monthly stipend
Has to argue about the price of milk at a corner store after the cashier overcharges him
Apropos nothing, an old man on the street approaches him and tells Josh that Josh’s pants don’t fit right
-Has dinner by himself, as most of the rest of the country is with family
-Meets up with his friends at night
The colors in Tel Aviv contrast markedly with the drab colors on the base and in Hebron
They go to Old Jaffa (Annalulu Club) and party with Arabs and Jews and local celebs
And several other clubs, all of which are wild— fire dancers, indoor circus performances,
The streets are full of people
At one of the clubs, he meets a girl
They stay out until 6AM together, drinking, talking, etc.
-He hangs out with her the next day as well
He takes her Tel Aviv port, but she laughs since it’s a tourist spot
Then she takes him to the “real Tel Aviv”
e.g. Old Central Bus Station, Florentin— more hipster-ish neighborhoods/areas
Episode 6: Real Life
-Goes back to the base Sunday morning
-Back to the shit, but now with a ‘girlfriend,’ he thinks
They spent 2 days and a night together
He feels more grounded in Israel, but also now has a whole new set of concerns
keeping in touch, planning their next meeting, missing her, etc.
-Josh goes on checkpoint detail
He has to make tough choices about whom to let through.
Also, he has to decide whether or not the man or woman in front of him is a direct threat to him or not, on a constant basis
-Adding to the stress, he must deal with activists, some of whom are Israeli, who try to provoke him
A large contingent of international media is also present
-One of the activists starts yelling at Josh and gets in his face
A fracas ensues and Josh is pushed
-Josh then slaps an activist and his affront threatens to become an international incident
-Back at the base, he calls his mom and talks with her about the incident
He tells her something bad happened and then she might hear about him in the news
-Josh’s officer and a review board talks to him about what happened
They tell him an investigation will take place to see what happened
He faces time in military prison
Episode 7: Quicksand
-International incident is averted after no footage survived
-As checkpoint detail continues, Josh begins to question his decision to come here
Sees that his work is doing little to impact the overall situation
-At the checkpoint, an elderly Arab woman is yelling and crying
4 other military aged males are in the car with her and say their mother has to get to the hospital.
There have been countless instances of a faked illness being used to smuggle weapons and bombs into Israel
Josh has to decide, on his own, what to do— no officers around
He is also still facing the review board for his previous actions
He decides to let her through, but with only one of the men
-After, Josh speaks with his officer about the situation
Officer explains that what they are doing is important, even if it’s hard to understand and see why
on a day-to-day basis
-Another night raid takes place
It is a high value target, known for being violent
In the house, the suspect places his son between him and the soldiers, using him as a human shield Josh must decide, in a second,
whether to shoot, duck, throw the child aside, give pursuit to the suspect…
-Mounting overall frustration in the unit due to the high tempo of operations and the nature of the operations
It’s very stressful because enemy combatants are not clearly defined
Also, their use of human shields, and other tactics which make decisions more difficult
-On the day after the raid, the unit is called to respond to more violence in the Arab sector of they city
But it turns out that it’s Arab on Arab crime, and so they can’t do anything to help the victims, who were badly beaten.
-The unit gets an unexpected leave
-Josh sees his girl, has a big fight, then she leaves him in the street.
They argue over their differing expectations of the relationship.
Josh only has his girlfriend in Israel, but his girlfriend has her friends, family, her whole life.
So, Josh can more easily spend all his free time with her, but not vice versa
Other cultural gaps exist as well— such as, Israeli women are more direct and aggressive
-Josh hears that the review board has cleared him of wrong doing, but to watch himself
Episode 8: Home
-Josh and his girlfriend make up
-Back at the base, the unit is put back on patrols
This time, they see the city with new, less naive eyes
We see Josh go to the same places he has been before on patrol, but now
he, and we, see them with a new perspective, based on all that we have since witnessed
-A group of Israeli residents goes to uproot and cut down Palestinian olive trees, which hold deep meaning
The Palestinian farmers fight back to stop them
Josh’s unit is called in to diffuse the situation
The unit tries to get between the 2 sides and stop the violence
The Israelis get mad at Josh for “siding with the enemy”
The unit succeeds, but a few tress are cut down
The next day, those same Israeli tree cutters are back at it
Josh’s unit goes back out and everything from yesterday is repeated
-Josh’s mom, dad, and younger brother come to visit from the U.S.
Their presence causes him to realize how much he has changed, and how much he has not
They are supportive of him, but it is clear they are concerned about him, and miss him
-Josh starts to think about where he really belongs, here or in the US,
He has more troubles with his girl
He thinks she is overly flirtatious, she thinks he is controlling, and square.
Episode 9: Next Stop
-The end is in sight; the unit starts discussing where they are going next
-Josh continues thinking about what has changed since he got here, both within himself and with the situation
This thought process is contrasted with what he shared, and did not share with his parents.
With his parents, he made out like he was dead set on staying, and that everything was
pretty much great
But now, he is not so sure. Especially considering how much he misses them, and his unforeseen, creeping fear about “falling behind” his
-He thinks he will go back home after the army
Breaks up with girl. It’s enough of her bullshit.
But it is really hard for him, as he feels more alone now
Also, she is really hot. And wild in a way he had not experienced previously
-There is a brutal killing in town
The deceased is the Palestinian man from episode 5
The investigation is left to the Palestinian police, who will for sure do nothing
-There is another riot in town and Josh’s unit is called out
The event seems almost predictable by now, esp. compared to the first one
Everyone in the unit knows exactly what to do against the rocks and burning tires and blocked streets
-But then, there is gunfire from the crowd
The changes everything and Josh’s unit must now prepare to get into a firefight
Any sense of predicability is gone
Josh’s position comes under heavier gunfire
-Josh tries to find the sources of the bullets, but can’t
-The protestors are emboldened by the gunfire from their side, more of them appear
It is unclear if these protestors are armed
-Josh asks for permission to shoot back
“Not until you can see a person with a weapon”
Josh asks if knife counts. -“No”
-The South African guy in Josh’s unit says he is going to shoot anyway
-Josh must decide what to do next
Episode 10: Last Day in Hebron
-We pick up with the firefight
After the South African fires at something, Josh decides to fire, but in the air
Back up arrives and one of the other units finds the shooters
The unit finishes riot control and goes back to base
-There is a debriefing and the South African guy is sent to jail
Josh is asked about why he fired his weapon
He says he did it after he saw his comrade fire, so he thought a weapon was seen
-The next day is Josh’s last patrol in town
Things seem to have returned to whatever counts as normal in Hebron
-Josh says goodbye to the people he’s met in town, Jewish and Arab
Touching moment for him, but not for residents who go through this every four months
-Even with the city as fucked up as ever, the unit moves out, replaced by the next set of guys
-Given a free trip back to the US, Josh confirms his decision to move back home, and go to university
Last scene is Josh eating pizza with his friends at a bar, sports on the TV, except for one which
has news of violence from Israel… Josh is watching that one, in a world by himself, as his
friends laugh and have fun, just like his comrades in Israel laughed and had fun
-He texts the girl. “I’m coming back”
End of Season 1
ENLISTED: WEST BANK is the story of the most famous conflict in the world as it is happening today, and through the eyes of young Americans who are the thick of it. Will they be able to thwart terrorist attacks, maintain order, and stay alive? How will the impossible situations they face change them? And will anything they do, perhaps as outsiders and Americans, have a chance of changing the course of this battle, which seems to have no end in sight?