M. was born in Israel but after her parents divorced, when she was six years old, her mother left Israel and M. grew up in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. She completely identified with her Israeli roots and maintained contact with her Israeli peers, visited Israel occasionally and associated with the Jewish community in England.
A few years ago, M.’s father tragically passed away and she visited Israel with her mother to attend her father’s funeral. While visiting Israel M. rekindled childhood friendships and discovered that her Israeli peers were all going through the IDF selection process in preparation for their national service.
Upon her return to England, M. pondered the fact that her friends were all getting ready for their IDF service. This awakened the Zionist spirit within her and that she, being Israel born, felt a call to volunteer for IDF service as well. As she expressed it, “I felt like I had this really strong connection to this place that I didn’t live in but got to visit every so often, like it was a part of me. I knew from a young age that everybody in Israel does the army and I couldn’t see why I wouldn’t.”
M. joined the Garin Tzabar Program for “Lone Soldiers” and was allocated to a Moshav in Israel while she participated in a pre-military academy course. Once she had finished her boot camp she was assigned to the special unit on the Gaza perimeter where she has served the rest of her time in the IDF. She is scheduled to finish her military service towards the end of this year.
M. describes her IDF service as follows: “When I take a moment to think about it, I sometimes can’t believe I did it! It was a big leap of faith coming out here and serving in the IDF but I couldn’t be happier knowing that I’ve done it. It was unquestionably the right decision.”
She really hopes to stay on in Israel after her IDF service and would love to pursue a career in political / international law in Israel. “It certainly won’t be the easy option but those are usually the opportunities which are worth while,” M. said.
Ariel Rudolph is a contributor to many publications such as Israel Today