350 Americans immigrate to Israel to join IDF as Knesset debates draft-dodging
By Itamar Eichner
While the Knesset toils in the draft-for-all debate, some people can’t wait to enlist. This summer sees a record breaking number of 350 young Jews from North America who will immigrate to Israel to join the Israeli army, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday.
The first plane batch of these patriotic new recruits has already been nicknamed “The Bakum flight of Nefesh B’Nefesh,” with Bakum referring to the IDF induction center.
This plane should arrive in Israel in about three weeks and will host an unprecedented number of 400 immigrants including 130 new IDF recruits.
The recruits are mostly 18-20 year-olds who have decided to give up college and the comforts of life in the US and leave family and friends in order to immigrate to Israel and join the Israeli army.
Their arrival has been coordinated by Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) working with The Tzabar unit (Garin Tzabar) of the Israeli Scouts, the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and the Jewish Agency.
Once they land, the new olim will attend a welcome ceremony with ministers, MKs, head of the IDF’s Manpower Directorate Orna Barbivai and Israel Scouts Chairman, Eli Ben Yosef.
Most of the expected arrivals are setting their sights on combat units. The men would specifically like to volunteer to elite units like Duvdevan, Sayeret Matkal, Shayetet 13, paratroopers and the Israeli Air Force flight academy. The women opt for Oketz (The IDF K-9 unit) or to be medics, education guides, or firearms instructors.
In a unique program led by Nefesh B’Nefesh and FIDF, the immigrants will receive financial aid and social support in order to ease their absorption in Israel.
Upon their discharge, they will be offered personal guidance services.
“This the best reply to Iranian and Hezbollah motivated terrorism,” said Erez Halfon, deputy chairman of ‘Nefseh B’Nefesh’. “Young people from North America leaving the good life behind for the Zionist idea.”
View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4259183,00.html