web analytics
January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


For Americans Who Served with IDF, Service Continues on Campus

David Abraham (far right), who served in the IDF's Armored brigade and is slated to attend graduate school at Columbia University.

David Abraham (far right), who served in the IDF's Armored brigade and is slated to attend graduate school at Columbia University.

Visit http://israelcampusbeat.org for the latest Israel trends and events on campus.

Many campus Israel groups have brought Israeli soldiers to speak at their schools in recent years because they value the insights and perspectives IDF veterans bring to the campus Israel dialogue. But some people who have had life-changing experiences serving in the Israel Defense Forces later earn their college degree in the United States. These students offer a unique view on Israel, based on their experience, and their advocacy on campus conveys that.

Sam Besser, who enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign after serving nearly two years in the IDF, noted that he came to campus with perspectives that differ from those of his peers. “It is unfortunate that so many people are misguided by lies and it’s even scarier that a lot of American Jews don’t have the knowledge to combat these lies and untruths,” he said.

Although he knows more than many other students, Besser is careful not to preach or bombard people with more information than they can process. He encourages people to develop their own opinions after they have gathered reliable information.

Israel Campus Beat spoke with three American-born IDF veterans who have returned to the U.S. after completing their military service. Each has been involved — or plans to become involved — in campus Israel advocacy efforts. They told their stories and explained how their army service has turned them into effective and authentic voices for Israel.

*** David Abraham, who will begin graduate school at Teachers College at Columbia University in the fall, earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Arizona prior to serving in the IDF. Now, looking forward, he sees a tangible change in his level of advocacy.

“While in college, talking about and supporting Israel just seemed like the right thing to do. I didn’t have [as much of a] physical connection to Israel, [but] I never really considered the option of not being an advocate on campus,” Abraham explained. “Now that I have done the army and I am about to attend graduate school at Columbia University, I see the importance of Israel for the Jewish people in a completely different light.”

Abraham grew up in a Zionist household where he received what he described as a typical education from Hebrew school and “stories of [his] Mom’s trips to Israel were just as important as going over the nightly math homework.” After spending a gap year in Israel on the Nativ program, studying in Jerusalem and volunteering Be’er Sheva, Abraham fell in love with the language and mix of cultures in Israel. When he finished college, he wanted to return to Israel.

“I found the only plausible way to integrate into society was to join the IDF, where I would feel that connection of tradition and history to the modern day Jewish people while also learning the language,” he explained.

Abraham joined the IDF through a program called Garin Tzabar, which places groups of 20+ immigrants together on a kibbutz before they join the army. Although he was excited about this opportunity, he was nervous about the uncertainty of what would happen.

“One of the most special things about the army is that it places people together who never would have had the opportunity to meet while at the same time everyone is thrown into a similar confusion and hardness that they have never experienced before,” he explained. Additionally, he became fairly fluent in Hebrew and gained what he described as the mental ability to do anything, which he finds applicable outside of the army.

After serving in the army for two years in the Armored brigade, first as a tank driver and then a tank commander, Abraham was given responsibility for training new soldiers in fighting tactics in the tank before they defended the country’s borders.

“I felt as though from that moment on I could go anywhere in Israel or the world and be seen as an Israeli Jew, and not just a Jew, and that meant a lot to me,” he said. “It was as if I had put my foot into society and was now able to go after whatever I desired. The army or just contributing to society in some way was the key to making it with the Israeli people and I had successfully completed that.”

About the Author: Visit http://israelcampusbeat.org for the latest Israel trends and events on campus.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “For Americans Who Served with IDF, Service Continues on Campus”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Indepth Stories
Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

Eller-013015

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

IRAN-US-POLITICS-MILITARY

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.

Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

More Articles from Lauren Schmidt, Israel Campus Beat
David Abraham (far right), who served in the IDF's Armored brigade and is slated to attend graduate school at Columbia University.

Many campus Israel groups have brought Israeli soldiers to speak at their schools in recent years because they value the insights and perspectives IDF veterans bring to the campus Israel dialogue. But some people who have had life-changing experiences serving in the Israel Defense Forces later earn their college degree in the United States. These students offer a unique view on Israel, based on their experience, and their advocacy on campus conveys that.

Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren meeting with PM Binyamin Netanyahu

Oren stressed the importance of treating every question with respect, noting that there is only one question that he refuses to respect. “I won’t respect any question that draws a comparison between Israel and the Nazis,” he said. “I won’t respond to that, at least not respectfully.”

Shagririm caters to the large population of Israeli–Americans in Southern California and their American born children. The program connects these individuals in order to effectively generate pro-Israel programs and initiatives. Shagririm is the only program of its kind that currently functions solely on a local, multi-campus level, rather than nationwide.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/on-campus-indepth/for-americans-who-served-with-idf-service-continues-on-campus/2012/08/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: