The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) represent Israeli society more than any other organization.
It is a real melting pot, in which the serving soldiers, both men and women have a diverse
ethnic and religious background. Lieutenant Toby Cohen is the first Nigerian woman who
serves in the IDF’s Homefront Command.
Toby was born in Nigeria to a Nigerian mother and an Israeli father. When she was 17 she left her parents’ home in her home town Kanu in Northern Nigeria and immigrated to Israel.
Toby tells that since her childhood she knew that she wanted to move to Israel. She always heard stories about Israel and the Israeli army from her father and often spent Jewish holidays in Israel. Finally, she decided to get to know the Israeli culture and to strengthen her connection to Israel by making aliyah.
In the framework of a "Young Judaism" program offered by the Jewish Agency for Israel, Toby immigrated to Israel and joined a pre-army educational program at Kibbutz Metzar in the Golan Heights. During the program, she honed her Hebrew skills and became more familiar with Israeli society. In the army Toby initially served as an operations sergeant in the Homefront Command, and was later accepted into the officer's training course.
Toby Cohen is one of the many lone Israeli soldiers who contribute to the security of the state of Israel by leaving their families, friends, work, study and comfortable life behind.
By: Ora Shapiro