Ariel, Israel

February 17, 2012

I am a medical student at Sackler on Tel Aviv University campus. I graduated from UC Berkeley and moved to Tel Aviv last August.

My brother is joining the IDF next year with garin tzabar. What would you say to him?

What inspired you to join the IDF?

How are you liking living in Israel?

Hi Ariel,

Thank you for your questions.  I have three suggestions for your brother: first, learn Hebrew (I cannot stress this point enough); second, he should begin researching what he wants to do in the army, including the names of units, amount of time he is willing to serve, and other logistical factors.  Finally, he should make sure that he is willing to learn from his experience, and that an army mindset can be isolating outside of the army.  The ability to adjust to different situations and lifestyles is crucial.

As to your second question, I joined the IDF because I was drafted.  Of course, I knew that making aliyah would probably include compulsory military service, but joining the army came after living here, speaking Hebrew, and learning about the culture.  I was inspired to make aliyah by the early Zionist literature that I read and discussed in college.  When I was drafted, I decided to go to the unit I went to in order to acquire the legitimacy to talk about the IDF and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from first-hand experience, and to serve the state at the same time.

Finally, to answer your third question, I love it here.  For all its problems and millions of annoyances, I’m generally pretty happy here.  I hope that helps, and feel free to ask again if you have any other questions.  Maybe we’ll bump into each other on campus.

Nate

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