Rochelle Windman (Photo: IDF Spokesman’s Unit)
YNetNews By: Eitan Goldstein
Jews from all over the world move to Israel and enlist in the IDF every year as lone soldiers. Some come to escape anti-Semitism, war, or failing economies. Others come for a pre-college experience. But there are many who come after obtaining academic degrees, and decide to leave the buiness world behind. Why?
Last week, a new class of soldiers finished basic training in a base in the far north of Israel. These 420 men and women will be going to units all over the Israel Defense Forces and be stationed in all branches and roles.
The base, Mikhve Alon, is under the command of the Education and Youth Corps, and is perhaps best known for its Hebrew program. New soldiers go to this base if their initial Hebrew level is too low. The course provided is a three-month program combining intense Hebrew, Zionism, and Israeli history lessons alongside basic training.
Of these soldiers, 350 were “lone soldiers,” meaning they don’t live with their parents. Many of these soldiers move to Israel alone with the purpose of joining the IDF. Some are from Africa, the former Soviet bloc, or Latin American countries, and come to Israel to seek better lives and opportunities than they could in their countries of origin. Some come from other areas of Europe where anti-Semitism is once again rearing its head. Others are from North America or Australia, looking to serve before heading off to college.
Yet, there is a small but significant number of people whose circumstances are different. They come from Western countries with relatively little anti-Semitism and strong economies – at an older age and with academic degrees. They have the keys to the world in their hands. Still, they decide to leave the West and their professional life behind in order to enlist in the IDF.