web analytics
July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



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
Map of Gaza City rocket launcher sites in school yard. July 22, 2014
UNRWA School Shelters Rockets (Again!) and Residents in Gaza
Latest News Stories

Thousands arrive to accompany Golani soldier Sgt. Max Steinberg from LA to his final rest at Jerusalem’s Mt. Herzl military cemetery.

Map of Gaza City rocket launcher sites in school yard. July 22, 2014

Another UNRWA school is found to be a storage spot for untold number of Hamas missiles.

Ben Gurion International Airport - nearly empty as the U.S. imposes a ban on flights to Israel, caving to Hamas missile attacks.

Former NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg defied a flight ban imposed by an Obama administration cowed by terror, flying to Israel with El Al.

Wounded Golani commander returns to his troops on July 22, 2014.

Golani brigade commander was hospitalized after being wounded, but he returned to the battlefield to complete the mission.

The Ruderman Family Foundation rewards Jewish organizations for promoting inclusion of those with disabilities.

We mourn the dead, wish a speedy recovery to the wounded, and pray that God guides the government.

Israel’s transportation minister said cancelling flights to Israel is like handing a prize to terrorists.

Ban ki-Moon and John Kerry might have some credibility if they would talk peace with terrorists in Syria.

“Like all mothers of soldiers, I pray that this ends peacefully, that all the boys come home safe-and-sound,” Ruthie says.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said Tuesday that he respects the legitimacy of Israel’s right to defend itself, but also called on Israel to limit its reaction to ongoing Hamas rocket fire at Israeli civilians. According to a report on the Hebrew-language Ynet website, Mr Ban also said his organization rejected the terror gang’s […]

Left-wing Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Tuesday that no ceasefire is imminent between Israel and Hamas, and added that the current military operation in the Gaza Strip was “unavoidable.” Speaking to Army Radio, Livni said there is no substance to Palestinian reports earlier in the day that Israel and the terrorists were considering an additional […]

Six IDF soldiers wounded in Gaza have showed significant improvement at Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva, Israel Radio reported. Three soldiers have been downgraded from “serious” condition to “moderate,” and three additional soldiers are now listed as “lightly injured.” One hundred fourteen soldiers are currently hospitalised as the result of the fighting.

Leading US paper interviews Hamas leader, shocked to ‘discover’ interview takes place in civilian hospital.

PM meets wounded soldiers at Ashkelon hospital, tells foreign diplomats they have moral obligation to support Israel.

As of this writing, Code Red rocket alerts were sounded in the following locations Tuesday: 10:28 pm  Be’er Sheva Shoval, Rahat and surrounds 9:56 pm Be’er Sheva, Hatzerim, Tifrach, Meitar and surrounds 9:17 pm Lod, Yavneh, Kiryat Akron, Gedera, Ramle, Gan Yavneh, Kfar Bilu, Ashdod, Kiryat Malachi 9:00 pm  Bat Yam, Rishon L’Tsion, Rechovot, Modi’in, Macabim […]

Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni said Tuesday that the funeral of Jordan Ben-Simon, a lone IDF soldier killed in Gaza yesterday, would be limited to 300 attendees due to the threat of rocket attacks.  Following the outpouring of support for lone soldiers yesterday, when more than 20,000 people created a mass funeral for lone soldier Sean Carmeli, […]

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.

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: