Kibbutz Hanita, next to the Israel-Lebanon border, is used to taking pride in its avocado orchards and olive groves. But it now has a new source of pride, with five young women who made the kibbutz their home after immigrating to Israel currently serving in combat roles in the Israel Defense Forces and Border Police.
Carrie French, Rachel Bernstein, Becca Perlin, Andrea Forsline and Nina Tabrizi
Hanita became home to eight men and eight women who immigrated to Israel this year as part of the Garin Tzabar program.
Andrea Forsline, 23, from Colorado, now a border policewoman in Judea and Samaria, said it was the anti-Semitism she witnessed while attending college in the United States that had made her decide to immigrate to Israel and join the IDF.
“I said that if I was going to join the military it had to be in a combat role. I like the fact that the Border Police brings so many people together — Jews, Druze, Circassians, Muslims, and Christians — and that everyone, together, contributes to Israel’s security,” Forsline said.
Nina Tabrizi, 22, from San Francisco, is currently in the last stages of her training as a member of the Homefront Command’s search and rescue unit.
“When I was in high school I was approached, like many of my friends, by U.S. Army recruiters. I knew I wanted to serve, but not in the U.S. — in Israel. I want a meaningful service. I want to be an officer and to make Israel my home,” she said.
Carrie French has also joined the Homefront Command’s search and rescue unit, while Becca Perlin and Rachel Bernstein declared themselves proud members of the Infantry Corps’ Caracal Battalion.
The Israeli Scouts and Tzvika Levy, head of the Kibbutz Movement’s Lone Soldiers Program, made sure that each of the women found an adoptive family in Hanita.
The Israeli Scouts play an active role in the Garin Tzabar program, alongside the Kibbutz Movement, the Jewish Agency and the Immigration Absorption Ministry.
“Usually the women decide to serve in various auxiliary roles, but the young women in Hanita were very motivated and determined to assume combat roles,” said Roni Bar-Kol, who oversees the Garin Tzabar program for the Israeli Scouts.
Ido Lotan, who heads the foreign relations department at the Israeli Scouts, said, “These fighters are an example of the potential of the Garin Tzabar program. They chose to come here despite many difficulties just to realize their dream of serving in the Israeli military.”