Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Office
Nahal Brigade soldiers prepare camouflage colors

For many goal-oriented Muslim teens who live in Israel, the pinnacle of success is to win acceptance to the university of their choice.

But for a Muslim teenager in the Arab Israeli town of Umm el-Fahm, his dream came true the day he was accepted to the ranks of the Israel Defense Forces.

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Yehiya Mahmid joined with other young men his age last week in the combat force of the Nahal Brigade, but his dream came at a very high price.

“At the moment I have no contact with my family,” he told reporter Eran Singer when relating the reaction to his enlistment to the IDF. “The members of the brigade are my family.

“The system accepts you as a person; it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or not,” he said. “At the moment, I have no contact with the family, but I have really bonded with the other members of the battalion, and they’re my family now.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.