"What are you looking at me like that for?" he had asked.
"It's your way of going on from where you left off. As if nothing ever stops with you, despite all the time that's passed, despite everything that's happened in between. As if you've never left your closed, inner world. What percentage of you takes part in what's going on around you? Ten percent? Five?"
"You'd better believe it! What do you think? I sold them my body, not my soul, not my feelings. Should I stop living in the meantime, should I stop dreaming?"
"I envy you. You need strength for that."
"What a tactful way you have of telling someone that he's crazy. You think I don't understand? Okay, I know I'm crazy- I'm not blind to myself."
"I don't think you're crazy. I really do envy you. I feel that I've already sold them my soul too. Maybe because my body's not such a big deal."
"You don't have anything to protect you, you don't have a dream."
"A while ago I realized something. I said to myself: They're always trying to humiliate us, break us, telling us how unsuitable we are for the army, what rubbish we are, how we're shit and garbage and how we'll never be soldiers. Suddenly I asked myself: Does it ever occur to them that maybe they're not exactly my aim in life either? That this isn't my cup of tea? That if it was up to me how to spend these years, the army might come last on the list? What makes them so sure that it's the greatest honor in the world for me? They keep refusing to give me a gift that I'm not in the least bit interested in."
"But still, what they say insults you like hell."
"Right. And I don't understand why. I keep adjusting myself to t heir point of view, accepting their opinion about me, looking at myself through their eyes. As if that's the only way to keep going. And it seems to me that by doing that I'm selling them my soul. So that's why I think it takes strength to make the division. To give them the minimum and keep the maximum inside and protect it. I don't have the strength to see the real situation. You need courage to face this raving lunacy without giving in to the brainwashing that seduces you into believing that this is the normal world, that it's okay, that this is real life, that these are your dreams."
"What got into you all of a sudden? You've been part of the game for a long time now, and you're always complaining to me that I don't respect its rules."
"I discovered the extent to which they've succeeded in brainwashing me," I said. "During the target practice I never succeeded in hitting anything. Whenever I fired a shot I felt as if the blow from the butt came before I pressed the trigger. And it moved the barrel off target and the bullet flew off to one side. It was the fear of the recoil, obviously. Of course I'm no good at it. I've never had any illusions on that score. I've never had any ambitions to excel at it. So why did it humiliate me so much? Why did missing hurt me so much? Because I already see myself through their eyes. It was only afterward, with an effort, that I began to think: Those targets, they're even cut out in the shape of people- head, shoulders, heart. I don't want to kill anyone, no one at all, not Arabs or Jews or Christians or anyone. I don't want it at all. It doesn't interest me. It doesn't belong to my real life! And still it hurt me that I missed, I despised myself so much, I hated myself. And that's how I began to understand that I'd already sold them my soul."
~Infiltration by Yehoshua Kenaz, pages 474-475