26-year-old Moshe Cadosh is a Gibraltarian Jew – born and bred. His friends call him ‘The Famous Jew’. That’s because they say he’s very sociable and well-known, especially amongst his contemporaries. “Perhaps the reason for that is that whatever you are, Moroccan, Christian, Hindu, black or white makes no difference to me. I’m not particularly orthodox but I do visit the synagogue and what’s most important to me is that I like to get on with people and try my best to live in harmony with everyone. Gibraltar is a great place where all these groups live closely together getting on with their lives without any problem and I like that.”
In recent times you may have seen this 6ft 4 (or 5) young man in the Cornwall’s Lane fruit and vegetable store, El Buen Gusto, helping you choose your lettuces, potatoes, plums and bananas! He happens to be David and Haviva’s son (he’s one of three brothers, Amram who’s 28 and Yaniv is 20). “Yes, since returning from Israel a few months ago, I’ve been at the store helping out and I’m mainly concentrating on supplying fruit and veg to bars, restaurants and hotels as our quality is second to none. I’m making some headway and slowly building on that side of the business as my parent’s day is taken up with serving the day-to-day clientele who are in and out all the time.” But I suppose competition is tight providing goods of any sort, in a small community like ours where potential customers get used to their usual, long-time suppliers and are not inclined to move away, but Moshe is determined to attract more customers adding to the ones he already has.
Whilst the hard work required to help run his parent’s business is no mean feat, Moshe feels he would like to move on to something more fulfilling: he’d like to continue giving something back to the community in a more significant and perhaps meaningful way, such as joining the RGP (hopefully soon), but when he was just 17 and a half years old, he joined the Royal Gibraltar Regiment. “That was a great experience, but let me tell you I only lasted about two weeks because despite being a tolerant community, which we are, there is always going to be a minority who spoil it. I was getting quite a few anti-Semitic remarks from some of the NCOs. My fellow soldiers and senior officers were fine but some of those junior commanders were prejudiced against Jews, which was a pity.”
Moshe left Bayside School – unlike his two brothers: Amram, now a Civil Engineer in London and Yaniv presently in university studying Computer Science – before taking his A Levels, so shortly after exiting the RG, he went to Canada for a few months to visit friends and family there. Then came his trip to Israel and still wanting to serve his community in a significant way, he joined the Special Police Force which also forms part of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).
“The unit of the police I was with didn’t involve giving parking tickets and general day-to-day police work. Our job was to patrol the sometimes-dangerous areas of Jerusalem, including the recently problematic area of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. We were armed of course and I experienced a few incidents during my two years service with the force. There were incidents including stabbings and on one occasion when I heard what sounded like fireworks but the two young female officers who were under my charge informed me it was weapon firing. I ran up some steps to attend to a woman who had been shot and was too late to help her as she had her neck slit! That was a bad incident.
“Our job was to keep the place safe; we didn’t go to war like a regular soldier but we did carry M16s. Should we need to use them we were instructed to shoot towards the area of the legs. Important to say we would stop and check individuals, but not just Muslims – anyone and everyone if need be.
“To join the Special Police Force I just needed to sign on as I have an Israeli passport. I have a Gibraltarian one also. I went into training for three months and it was tough from then on.” Moshe tells me that during training you were up by 4.30am and then once trained, you’re designated an area where you’re to be posted, you did 8 hour shifts with three sections covering the 24 hours. “Although we came off shift you were always on call, you couldn’t drink or go clubbing and travelling outside the old quarter of Jerusalem was not allowed, so you were always on duty really.”
Because our Gibraltarian/Israeli law enforcer had not signed on for a long term commission, his salary was just about the equivalent of £500 a month, bearing in mind conscription is a must for all Israelis! “And let me tell you life in Israel is not at all cheap. A packet of cigarettes cost about £6 and a glass of wine £7 or £8! I stayed in the country for sometime longer and became a Prison Officer and although my salary was very much higher than in the police force, shifts were tough working for 24 hrs in one go…you had an easy week, a medium week and a heavy week all involving 24hour shifts with days on and days off. I then took on another job and shortly after decided to return to Gib. That was last December and here I am working with my dad.”
Moshe is indeed back on the Rock and more or less settled in but, keeping to his desire of wanting to serve, has his keen eye on joining the Gibraltar police (RGP). The paperwork is in, he tells me, and he’s just waiting for the next intake to see if he’s called up. As a well over six-footer and all other requirements being good, I’m sure he would be a good bobby on our streets. I think he’s done the training…and obviously, likes wearing a uniform!