Friday, September 2, 2011
Israeli military welcomes scores of American recruits
Hundreds of new immigrants from the U.S. landed at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel on Tuesday.
An unprecedented 104 of the 360 new arrivals, came to enlist in the Israeli army.
Brig. Gen. Eli Shermeister, the Chief Education Officer, was among a delegation of officials on hand to greet the 18 to 22 year olds.
"It's an honor to have you join the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and the Israeli nation," the Brig. Gen. said. "There are no words to describe my appreciation for you, your courage and the Zionistic values you hold. The State of Israel is coping with security threats every day and defending its security is the main goal of the IDF."
The Chief Education Officer told the new immigrants he is proud that the IDF "is an army that focuses on educating the youth and building Israeli society. Those of you who will soon be soldiers, I promise you: there is a special place for every single one of you in the IDF."
The Minister of Immigrant Absorption Ms. Sofa Landver also welcomed the new recruits. "Young people coming to Israel to enlist in the army strengthen not only the country's defense but also the national strength," she said.
All 104 of the IDF's inductees want to see action. The boys (61 of them) have applied to join Israel's elite special forces units, while the the girls (43 of them) have asked to serve in either the combat canine unit, as medics, injury NCOs, education NCOs or as shooting instructors.
"My brother enlisted with the same program two years ago and he currently serves in the Givati Brigade. He told me a lot of stories and encouraged me to enlist," Idan from New Jersey said Tuesday. "My mom lives in New Jersey and my dad lives in Israel so I've always had these two worlds and a deep connection to Israel. And now I am here, waiting to started my military service hopefully in the Paratroopers Brigdae."