web analytics
September 3, 2015 / 19 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Campus Activists to Army – Lone Soldiers Speak


IDF soldiers

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

The lone soldier.

Hundreds of pro-Israel campus activists graduated this year, and dozens of them plan to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Serving in the Israeli military before, during, or after college can be a logical extension of a student’s commitment to campus Israel efforts. They serve in various forums, including hesder, Garin Tzabar or directly enlisting independent of any organization.

The IDF defines a soldier whose immediate family does not reside in Israel as a lone soldier. Various benefits such as an increased salary, a choice of an adopted family or kibbutz, an allotment of cell phone minutes that can be used to call abroad, a free plane ticket to visit family outside Israel and an extra piece of luggage when making aliyah all are part of the lone soldier experience.

Today, 5,600 “lone soldiers” are enlisted in the IDF, and some of them worked tirelessly on behalf of Israel on U.S. campuses prior to donning IDF uniforms.

Brian Maissy is a past co-president of UC Berkeley’s Tikvah: Students for Israel, and soon he will become a lone soldier through the Garin Tzabar program. He noted a direct correlation between the challenges he faced as a campus Israel advocate and his decision to move to Israel and join the army.

“I saw injustice on campus,” he told ICB. “Students [were] spreading lies about Israel. I took it upon myself to counter the falsehoods and teach the truth about Israel and Zionism.

“I look at my army service the same way,” Maissy continued. “As a member of the Jewish people I have an obligation to help defend the Jewish state. My decision to enlist is an acceptance of that responsibility.”

Dov Lerner, 24 and former ZOA president at the University of Maryland, just signed on for two more years of service in the foreign affairs unit of the IDF. After four years of his active involvement in the Israel campus scene at UMD, including combating the BDS movement on campus, Lerner has a nuanced experience of what it means to be a lone soldier.

Speaking to ICB about the final night of a weeklong field maneuver exercise, Lerner shared a profound experience that he said he wants campus activists to understand.

“That night, we sat around a campfire and received food baskets from generous donors,” he said. “Everyone immediately tore apart the packages and began consuming the large quantities of chocolate, wafers and Bamba. I sat there staring at the package, which read: ‘To the heroes defending the land of Israel, stay safe and have a happy Purim, from the Brooklyn Chapter of the ZOA.”

When Lerner performs seemingly absurd tasks like running and shooting drills, or “washing a battalion’s worth of forks while on kitchen duty, or while mopping the library,” he must constantly remind himself of why he chooses to defend the country.

However, none of those absurd moments matched the feeling he got when he received those gift baskets from the ZOA. Six years earlier, Lerner had been packing those same packages for Israelis and now, in uniform, huddling around the fire to keep warm in the frigid desert night Lerner’s officer turned to him to ask, “How does it feel to be on the other side?”

“It is very different making the case for Israel on campuses than actually sitting on the border with a gun guarding the country,” Lerner said. “Having done both, I know that they are both extremely necessary.”

Another former campus activist who went on to serve as a lone soldier in the IDF’s elite Shaldag commando unit recalled that his attendance at an AIPAC conference 10 years ago, as a high school student, had a pivotal effect on him.

The former activist, who requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of his military duties, recalled that Benjamin Netanyahu had met with a crowd of college student attendees at the conference. The past and future Israeli Prime Minister recounted a scene soon after his arrival at MIT: Fresh out of three years of IDF service, the new freshman found himself handing out leaflets at a pro-Israel rally. At first glance, Netanyahu thought little of its significance, but soon thereafter, he said, he realized that campus activists abroad and IDF soldiers “fighting the same battle.”

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 “Campus Activists to Army – Lone Soldiers Speak”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Jim Bennett, zl, father of Education Minister and Bayit Yehudi party chairman Naftali Bennett.
Father of Naftali Bennett, Jim Bennett, 73, Passes Away
Latest News Stories
Jim Bennett, zl, father of Education Minister and Bayit Yehudi party chairman Naftali Bennett.

Jim Bennett, 73, father of Education Minister Naftali Bennett, has passed away in Haifa.

IAF fighter jet heads to  Gaza.

Israeli fighter pilots bombed a Hamas military post in northern Gaza at dawn on Thursday.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Israel. Aug. 31, 2015.

Sen. Cotton sounds confident there is much more that can be done to protect us all from the Nuclear Iran Deal.

Blood Moon

Jewish agricultural laws aren’t necessarily something the rest of the world easily becomes fixated on, but lately the word “Shemitah” has been popping up frequently in Google searches.

The Knesset passed its first reading for the 2015-2016 budget by a vote of 57 to 53.

The Israeli police shot him before he threw his bomb at them.

Shortly before 7 PM, sniper fire originating from Gaza hit a home in the Israeli town of Netiv Ha’asara.

A teacher at an UNRWA school in Jordan includes a Jewish blood libel cartoon on his Facebook account.

“I, Yaakov Litzman, pledge…to be faithful to the government of Israel and to its laws.”

Pope Francis invited the President of Israel for his first official visit to the Vatican.

The Maryland Democrat caved in even though she is retiring at the end of her current term.

Another rash of life-threatening firebombing and rock-throwing attacks has prompted Israel to think twice about abandoning soldiers and civilians as sitting ducks.

Pressure from Gush Etzion leaders has convinced Ya’alon to authorize a site in memory of last year’s three kidnap-murder victims.

As reported earlier, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s grandfather’s grave on the Mount of Olives was desecrated overnight by Arab vandals who destroyed and burned numerous graves. The Mount of Olives is one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the world.

British liberal and leftists largely support the deal, though there are some center-left figures who oppose the agreement,

(JERUSALEM) – Beekeepers from across Israel delivered their honey products to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin this week in light of a festive event held at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem for the upcoming Jewish New Year. A delegation of the Israeli Honey Council, which also included a three-generation family of children, parents, and grandparents in […]

More Articles from Tamar Shmaryahu, Israel Campus Beat
Ask Herzl

In past years, students turned to the people they knew for advice or strived to build creative plans on their own. While these approaches can yield strong results, imagine what could be achieved with a nationally networked resource that provides the best of all worlds — tested, proven programming ideas and step-by-step details of best practices for impacting the campus environment.

IDF soldiers

Dov Lerner, former ZOA president at the University of Maryland and current Lone Soldier in the IDF: “It is very different making the case for Israel on campuses than actually sitting on the border with a gun guarding the country,” Lerner said. “Having done both, I know that they are both extremely necessary.”

About a dozen college campuses, including Brown University, Queens College, New York University, Columbia University, Yeshiva University and Cornell University, were represented by student delegations in the parade, which has been an annual fixture for the past 48 years.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/on-campus/lone-soldiers-from-the-campus-to-the-idf/2012/06/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: