web analytics
September 24, 2014 / 29 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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.”

He was so moved by the encounter with Netanyahu that the young man organized an event featuring the letters of Alex Singer, a former Cornell undergraduate who was killed in combat as a paratrooper in 1986. He listed other organizations, such as The Avi Schaefer Fund, which seek to draft former IDF soldiers into campus leadership positions.

During his military service, the young man recalled, his platoon encountered a group of American high school students who were part of the Write On for Israel education and advocacy training program. “Seeing the two different crowds really brought home the road I have traveled,” he said. “A few years earlier, I would have found myself on the other bus. Student activism, pro-Israel advocacy, free trips to Israel… all are themes I know well from my years in high school and university. And yet I stood there in my dirty green uniform, unwashed after four days in the woods, watching the slickly dressed students pour back onto their bus. Was I really living in a world so foreign to the one they know? Or does my own biography not imply that the path from their bus to my own is far less distant than our dress and concerns may suggest?”

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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
NY rally against Met Opera's 'Death of Klinghoffer' opera. Sept. 22, 2014.
New York City Site of Huge Rally Against Met’s Klinghoffer Opera
Latest News Stories
soldiers[1]

Here is your chance to show your appreciation to the IDF!

NY rally against Met Opera's 'Death of Klinghoffer' opera. Sept. 22, 2014.

Thousands of people protested outside of the Metropolitan Opera for staging an anti-Semitic opera.

Immigration to Israel this year was up 28% compared to the previous year. An estimated total of 24,800 new immigrants arrived to Israel throughout the course of the year.

Yamam Hebron Shootout

The YAMAM counter terrorist unit killed the 2 terrorists. This is part of that video.

The two were traveling on stolen Israeli passports, and had changed the photos to their own.

The renewed ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas ended peacefully for the day.

“In the Middle East today, there is one country where Christianity is not only not persecuted, but affectionately granted freedom of expression, freedom of worship and security. It is Israel, the Jewish State. “

ISIS has launched a global campaign to encourage Muslims to murder non-Muslims.

A French citizen is abducted and his life is now threatened by an ISIS group in Algeria.

“What we are seeing here in New York today is not an artistic expression that challenges the limits of morality, but a moral deformity that challenges the limits of the art.

Dr. Boaz Ganor, co-founder and executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel, calls Hamas and Hizbullah “hybrid” terrorist organizations.

A travel terror attack was foiled Tuesday on a road near Ashdod thanks to the alert eyes of the Israeli public and police.

Four Arab teens are indicted in connection with Sept. 7 attack on French Hill gas station.

PM Netanyahu has sent out his Rosh HaShana greeting to Jews around the world.

The IDF shot down a Syrian fighter jet that infiltrated Israeli air space, using a Patriot missile.

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: