Three Religious Girls Make Aliya to Serve in IDF Combat Unit

Being a religious woman and serving in the IDF are definitely not mutually exclusive as proven by 3 ‘lone soldiers’ Pnina Abraham, Sarah Goldberg, & Pnina Sankovich who come from religious households in North America & now serve together in an Egyptian border field intelligence unit.

By Danny Brenner


Three young religious women from North America have come to Israel to enlist in the Israel Defence Forces and serve in combat units.

From left to right: Pnina Sankovich, Sarah Goldberg, and Pnina Abraham – Photo courtesy: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit

The national-religious community has long debated the issue of young women enlisting in the IDF, as opposed to signing up for civil service, though recently there has a been rise in the number of religious women enlisting to field units and combat support roles.

Three such women are lone soldiers Pnina Abraham, 22, from Toronto, Sarah Goldberg, 20, from Texas, and 20-year-old Pnina Sankovich from Boston.

The three, who were raised in religious homes and remain religiously observant, left behind their parents, siblings, friends and childhood memories. They left it all to make aliyah, join Garin Tzabar and enlist in the IDF.

The three live on Kibbutz Lavi, a religious kibbutz in the lower Galilee. Abraham, Goldberg and Sankovich were placed in the same platoon of an IDF field intelligence unit and are now serving on the Egyptian border.

“We were raised Zionist. Being religious and serving in the army are not mutually exclusive. I can’t say I want to be Jewish and not defend our country,” one of the girls said.

When on leave, the three spend time with their host families on their kibbutz.

“We keep in touch with our family and friends abroad, but feel at home on Kibbutz Lavi. Tzvika Levy, who is in charge of lone soldiers in the kibbutzim, also helps us and we know we can always turn to him for anything,” one of the girls said. “Once we finish our military service we will continue our studies in Israel. This is our home.”


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