Eighteen and right out of high-school. The world is yours, and a bounty of opportunities await you. Our feeling of teenage freedom differs from the reality of those our age in Israel.
After high-school, the state of Israel requires that every girl give two years of their lives, and every boy three years of their lives to protect the security of Israel. Although they are obligated to go to the army, most Israelis believe it is an honor and obligation to fight for their country. Only after their army service, can they embark on their future endeavors.
Some teenagers of the diaspora willingly choose to leave the comfort of their home, family and country of origin to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). They believe their heart is in Israel, and so it is their responsibility to defend and fight for it, even though this can mean endangering their own lives. They sacrifice two-to-three years of their lives and endure grueling training, exercises, missions, and operations, all for the sake of Israel.
Each year, approximately 950 individuals join the “Lone Soldier” program, and currently there are about 6,000 lone soldiers from all over the world serving in the IDF.
Milken usually has at least one student who volunteers to join the “Lone Soldier” program.
Student alums Alexi Rosenfeld’12, Lior Tal’12 and Elon Zlotnik’12 recently joined the army.
When asked why he chose to join the army, Rosenfeld answered that his connection to Israel and the army originated from his grandparents, one of whom is a Holocaust survivor.
“Since I was about seven years old and understood what the Holocaust was, I knew I wanted to join the IDF and do my part to protect the state of Israel so that my children, grandchildren and future generations will always have a home and place where they will never feel persecuted,” Rosenfeld ’12 said.
Rosenfeld serves as a photo journalist in the interactive communications division of the IDF Spokesperson Unit. He is responsible for covering news and reporting a variety of different stories occurring around Israel or involving IDF soldiers.
Although Rosenfeld feels that the army is a unique and amazing experience, he admits that it is not easy.
“Not everyday is easy and there are days where it is very difficult, but to be a part of something that is bigger than yourself, to work for a greater cause and to know that everyday I am making a difference is the best feeling in the world.”
Stories such as Rosenfeld’s are inspiring and show just how much power the little state of Israel has on people.
On December 18th, the Yozma Israel group is holding a fundraiser after school to support Israeli soldiers. The proceeds will all be going to the organization, “Thank Israeli Soldiers,” whose mission is to show soldiers gratitude and support in a variety of different ways. To help the organization out students can purchase milkshakes for two dollars.
Although some believe it is sad, and maybe a little bit disturbing that Israel needs to force its teenage citizens to go to the army, it is a necessity due the realities in Israel today. Without the army on the front lines protecting Israel, Israel could not exist.
As Americans who have free choice regarding life decisions, please consider buying a milkshake to show Israeli soldiers gratitude for defending the Jewish homeland.