Entry 3: Friends of the IDF

When considering whether or not to pursue dual citizenship and enlist in a foreign military, it is always a good idea to do your research.

Last week, I met with a lovely woman named Dorit at Friends of the IDF to find out a little bit more about the IDF. We talked about the basics: Why I wanted to join, what unit I wanted to join, whether or not my family approved. But then sheĀ turned the conversation in a direction that few people that I’ve discussed this with have done, which is why it was so important.

Dorit’s husband is a commander in the army, and she herself has served. She knows the good and the bad both for personal reasons and because of her job, and what she shared with me I will not soon forget. I have summarized what she told me below:

You are in Israel now with friends that you study with at Tel Aviv University. You are surrounded by Americans from a similar background in a similar situation to yourself. When you come to Israel as a lone soldier, the odds change. No longer are you two months away from seeing your friends and family again, no longer are you surrounded by Americans that are your age that also miss their families and friends. When you make Aliyah, you are on your own. While different organizations will help you out, you need to find yourself an apartment, make friends and make a life for yourself. On weekends when you get leave from the army, your friends will go home to be with their families and their girlfriends, and you will, at least for a while, have nobody to go back to. The feeling of heroism that you feel when you first join the IDF may very well be replaced by a feeling of loneliness. It is no mistake that people who make aliyah and join the army without family here are called “lone soldiers.” The question you have to ask yourself is one that nobody can answer for you: “Are you prepared to deal with that?”

Only time will tell.

December 2008

2 Responses to “Entry 3: Friends of the IDF”

  1. Tom Cochran Says:

    I would like to make friends . I am a disabled veteran.

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