Lone immigrants celebrate joining the Israeli army

Monday, April 15, 2013 |  Yossi Aloni

Eighty young Jews who immigrated to Israel alone from around the world to join the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were thrown a recruitment party in Jerusalem last week by the US-based organizations Nefesh B'Nefesh and Friends of the IDF (FIDF).

The immigrants, who will be classified as "lone soldiers," came to Israel from Argentina, Austria, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Moldova, the Netherlands, Peru, Russia, Switzerland, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom , South Africa, Sweden, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA and Uzbekistan.

In addition to enjoying the festive atmosphere, the new recruits were also given special financial grants provided to the IDF's lone soldiers.

"Where I come from I had to hide my Jewish identity, but now I am proud to be a Jew and to defend my country. My recruitment [into the IDF] is a dream fulfilled," said Aziz Hlicob, a 21-year-old immigrant from Turkmenistan.

Among the speakers at the event were Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver IDF representative and a representative of the "NBN".

"Israel is in the midst of preparing for Memorial Day and Independence Day, the most Zionist days of the year, but there is nothing more exciting than celebrating the recruitment of these 80 young future soldiers," said Nefesh B'Nefesh Deputy Chairman Erez Halfon. "These young people are the future of Israel. They came from all corners of the globe with a common goal of protecting and maintaining the State of Israel, the home of the Jewish people. We salute each and every one of them."

There are currently about 2,700 lone soldiers serving in the IDF. These immigrants, many of them young men and women who made the move to Israel without their parents or families, are provided regular financial assistance, emotional support and social activities by organizations like Nefesh B'Nefesh and FIDF.

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