S. was six years old when her family moved from Israel to the United States. She grew up in Orange County, California with her parents and younger sister, E. who is currently serving as a lone soldier in the IDF. S. was a combat soldier and served in "Oketz," the IDF's Elite Anti-Terrorist K-9 Unit.
This a short summary in S.'s own words of her service and successful career choice with the assistance she received upon completion of her IDF service.
"During my high school senior year I had applied to colleges just like everybody else and I was so exited when I was accepted to one of my top choice schools. The summer before college I came to Israel for a month. On returning to the US I thought about the trip and thought maybe I should not go to school right away and enlist in the IDF instead.
I made the decision to postpone studying and come serve in the IDF instead. In November 2012 I made Aliyah and spent six months at Ulpan on Kibbutz Ein HaShofet. After I finished Ulpan I drafted right away into the IDF.
I was told I could be a combat soldier in the Caracal unit. When I arrived at the base for training and saw there were tryouts for Oketz, I decided I would try out. About halfway through the tryouts I saw what was going on around me and decided I had to finish this tryout. I did finish and was accepted to Oketz.
My training with Oketz was extremely challenging. We did a lot of physical training and mental preparation. However hard and tiring it was, I was happy to come back to base every Sunday. Combat soldiers in Oketz work specifically with dogs that sniff out explosives as well as with search and rescue dogs. I was one of the first people from my class to pass the testing and go on missions. I completed the training and was awarded my commander's pin at the final ceremony. During my service my dog and I worked all over the West Bank with different units.
I started my release orientation program before my release from the army with the pre-release workshop. There I met my advisor and really appreciated the meetings I had with her and she helped me a lot. I also did the diagnostic testing which helped me decide which career path would suit me best. I also met with a financial advisor and he really helped helped me with an issue I had been struggling with for a few weeks and with just a few phone calls he helped me resolve it.
The program gave me someone to help me figure out my plans for the future and school and how to live in Israel post army service."
The next workshop for Israel's Lone Soldiers will take place in October / November and you can support the program!