web analytics
November 29, 2014 / 7 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



IDF’s Arizona Girl Receives ‘President’s Excellence Award’

Nira Lee grew up in Tempe, Arizona as a Zionist but firmly planted in the USA, until she saw the destruction following the Second Lebanon War during a visit to Israel. Now she is Lieutenant in the IDF.
Nira Lee - from Tempe, Arizona to recipient of President Peres' Excellence Award as IDF Lieutenant

Nira Lee - from Tempe, Arizona to recipient of President Peres' Excellence Award as IDF Lieutenant
Photo Credit: IDF

President Shimon Peres last week presented the annual President’s Citation of Excellence to a native of Arizona, 24-year-old lone soldier 2nd Lt. Nira Lee.

She grew up in Tempe, Arizona, in a Zionist household, but she had no intention of making aliyah. Her first trip to Israel was in 2004, when at age 16 she attended a group discovery trip with the B’nei B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO). “At that time, I did not feel a special connection to Israel nor a personal obligation to be here,” 2nd Lt. Lee explained.

On her second trip to Israel, during her first year in university, everything changed. She volunteered on a trip with Hillel to live in Akko and rebuild a school that had been destroyed in the 2006 Second Lebanon War. According to 2nd Lt. Lee, “being in the periphery and not necessarily touring the popular sites of Israel helped show me the different side of Israel. It showed me the people who needed help, and that was the first time I personally felt connected to this country.”

After that experience, 2nd Lt. Lee decided to support Israel from the inside. At the time, she was studying International Relations at AmericanUniversity in WashingtonD.C., and decided to do a test run by studying abroad in Haifa during her third year. “I chose Haifa because I understood it to be a much more authentic environment, one that seems closest to normal life in Israel,” she said.

The test run proved difficult for 2nd Lt. Lee. She knew no Hebrew. She was also overweight and in poor physical health. “I decided that if I wanted to help Israel, I would have to make a few personal changes first,” she said.

In 2008, 2nd Lt. Lee was in Israel when the security situation in Gaza deteriorated and Operation Cast Lead was initiated. The IDF called up reserves, many of whom were friends of 2nd Lt. Lee’s. “Being there during Operation Cast Lead and feeling so futile made me want to enlist in the IDF. Seeing my friends being called up while I remained in the comfort of my dorm room made me want to join them.”

Second Lt. Lee decided there and then that the next time Israel’s citizens would be called to defend the state, she would be among them. Following her year abroad, Nira learned to speak Hebrew fluently and, through personal determination and strength, lost 55 pounds on her path to physical health.

She made aliyah in May 2010 and enlisted as a lone soldier in the IDF five months later. At first, the transition was difficult. “No one knows the difficulties of being a lone soldier,” she said, adding that finding a place to live and setting up her life were great challenges.

Her commanders noticed that she was struggling and made great efforts to help her. “My commanders made it possible for me to have normal soldier concerns, rather than concerns such as where I would sleep that night or if I would have food to put on my plate. Instead of worrying about a place to do my laundry, and ending up washing my clothes in the shower at the base, I was able to focus on the reason I was there: my job in the army,” she said.

She completed the IDF Officers Course in 2011 and became the deputy liaison officer to the international community in the Gaza Strip. She is currently responsible for assisting in foreign access and the transfer of medical supplies into Gaza.

This week, 2nd Lt. Lee will be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. She has been in the IDF for almost three years and is signed on for another six months. After completing her military service, she plans to earn a master’s degree in security and diplomacy at TelAvivUniversity.

After she received the President’s Citation of Excellence on Israel’s 65th Independence Day, she said, “It’s a huge honor for me to receive this award. Being a new immigrant, there are certainly times you feel you do not fit in, but the army is the epitome of how this country unites people.”

About the Author:


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.

One Response to “IDF’s Arizona Girl Receives ‘President’s Excellence Award’”

  1. Gary Stevens says:

    What does a lone soldier mean? Don't the soldiers live on a military base?

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry .
NYT Ignores US Condemnation of PA Incitement, Prints Info on Ferguson Cop
Latest News Stories
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry .

The NYT published sensitive info on a Ferguson cop — but ignored a US condemnation of terror.

It's business as usual as Gazans repair the tunnels used to smuggle in the long-range rockets that hit Tel Aviv.

Some of these Gazan tunnels were estimated to have cost $3 million to construct, but will they sustain continued flooding by rain and sewer water?

IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz delivers lecture.

“Ninety percent of them [Arabs] don’t know what is written in the Kuran.”

Soldiers start asking questions after Arab sniper narrowly misses killing Jewish motorist on Highway 60, south of Jerusalem.

“Lone wolves” trying to murder Jews are popping up too frequently.

The Gurlitt Museum promises all looted art will be returned to the rightful owners.

Liberal Jews are for tolerance until they also have to be tolerant.

Israeli Shayetet 13 Naval commandos discovered a wounded fellow swimmer in the water, while they were doing a training exercise on Thursday morning. The commandos helped and treated the dolphin until a marine animal doctor could arrive to help it further. By the way, the temperature in Israel was between 52-66 degree Fahrenheit on Thursday, […]

A pre-Thanksgiving speech for Americans. Obama, are you listening?

“You’ve been hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army.”

Murderers have upgraded their weapons from rocks and firebombs to guns.

Thanksgiving is an American secular holiday that most Jews have no problem celebrating due to its lack of overt religious symbols (unlike the American holidays right before and after it). Still, there are always holdouts for some reason or another. Let’s hear what you do…

Maybe he thought those white hoods are prayer shawls although they are closer to being burkas.

As the expression goes, “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.”

Hamas snipers fired from Gaza at an IDF routine patrol operating along the security fence early afternoon on Thursday. No injuries were reported, and the vehicle was damaged. The IDF responded with an artillery shell aimed at the source of fire.

Jacob Richman found this amusing mistake in the store. Do we eat these “extra crispy” soap nuts, or wash the dishes with them?

For every terrorist cell Israel announces it has captured, there are many more kept under wraps.

More Articles from IDF Spokesperson's Office
paramedikit-3

“I knew that being there would allow me to protect other soldiers.”

Blurred faces, for security reasons, lead the IDF's secret defense against anti-Israel cyber warfare.

One missile explosion on Tel Aviv could cause a local disaster. One successful Hamas hack of IDF secrets could cause a national disaster.

During Operation Protective Edge, IDF soldiers were faced with deadly risks in the Gaza Strip. Sixty four soldiers were killed and many more were wounded in combat. This is the story of one IDF commander who put his life in danger to rescue a soldier kidnapped by Hamas. Lt. Eitan, 23, joined the elite unit […]

Sgt. O’s commander: “We do not fight indiscriminately. We are an army not a terrorist organization.”

The discovery of a Hamas “urban warfare” manual by IDF forces reveals Hamas’ callous use of Gazans

IDF video of 1st day in Gaza, Operation Protective Edge

Hamas dramatically upgraded its weapons stockpile, placing millions of Israeli civilians at risk.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/116979/2013/04/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: