Ron Abukrat served as a combat soldier in the French army. His twin brother is a police officer in Paris and his older brother was a fighter pilot in the French Air Force. At only 24, Abukrat has already completed a B.A. in economics and an M.A. in international relations from the University of Paris. Less than a year ago, he decided it was time for the real thing: to contribute to Israel’s security.
Ron Abukrat at his swearing-in ceremony at the Western Wall – Photo: Contact
Abukrat left his parents and two brothers behind in France, immigrated to Israel, and was drafted into the Golani Brigade’s reconnaissance unit. On Thursday, he and his comrades stood at attention facing the Israeli flag and the stones of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. He swore loyalty to the Israel Defense Forces and to the State of Israel, and said he was full of pride and gratitude that he had the privilege of serving the country.
“I found my love for Israel after my bar mitzvah,” he said. “I started to take an interest, read about it, follow news from Israel. I understood that Israel was under attack and that it wasn’t easy to live there, but I knew that the information was not really accurate and not favorable. I decided that I had to go to Israel myself to see what was really happening there.”
After finishing high school, Abukrat and his twin brother Emeric were drafted into the French infantry.
Abukrat (left) and his twin brother Emeric in the French army – Photo: Courtesy of the Abukrat family
“After my army service, I went to university and finished my B.A. and M.A. and then decided to move to Israel,” Abukrat said. He did not know Hebrew and had never been to Israel.
At first, he was drafted in the Israel Defense Forces as a lone soldier and attended an intensive Hebrew study program at the Mikveh Alon educational base in the Galilee, after which he went on to basic training in a Golani reconnaissance unit.
“My commanders are younger than me, but I don’t mind,” he says. “When I stood facing the Western Wall and the Israeli flag and sang ‘Hatikvah,’ I was full of pride. Here in Israel I feel at home,” he said.
Asked about support from home, Abukrat says: “My parents, my older brother [a former French Air Force fighter pilot who now flies tourists in Switzerland] and my twin brother, who serves in the Paris Police, have supported me all the way and are happy about my decision. The biggest surprise was when my dad came to Israel for a few days to be with me at the swearing-in ceremony at the Western Wall.”
Tzvika Levy, head of the Kibbutz Movement’s Lone Soldiers Program, is taking care of Abukrat and arranged living quarters and an adoptive family for him at Kibbutz Meirav in the Gilboa region.
“This is a quality, professional guy who knows what fighting is and will certainly contribute to the Golani reconnaissance unit,” Levy said. “I’m proud of him for choosing at this point of his life to go into the army as a lone soldier and make a real contribution to the IDF.”
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=17741