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      IDF Volunteers from 29 Countries Complete Hebrew Course

      Three of four participants in special course are lone soldiers, 47% will go on to serve in field and combat units.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 7/16/2012, 11:18 AM

      Maj. Gen. Barbivai with soldiers.
      Maj. Gen. Barbivai with soldiers.
      IDF Spokesman's Unit

      Dozens of volunteers to the IDF from 29 different countries completed the special Hebrew course offered at the Mechve Alon base last week in a special ceremony, the IDF Website reported.

      Of the soldiers honored at the ceremony, 47% will continue to field and combat units and the rest will go on to professional courses. "Additionally, 76% of the soldiers are lone soldiers who volunteered to move to Israeli in order to enlist, leaving behind the homes and families," a commander at the course, Cpt. Limor Shahar, told the IDF.

      Most of the soldiers moved to Israel from Europe, Africa, Australia, South America and the United States. They were split up into three companies based on the level of their Hebrew proficiency.

      The Head of the Manpower Directorate, Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivai told the soldiers: "Looking at you fills the heart with pride. You contribute to the Israeli society and the IDF… The Manpower Directorate will do everything possible to enable you to complete a meaningful military service, while providing you with all the necessary tools."

      The ceremony was also attended by the Chief Education Officer, Brig. Gen. Eli Shermeister, and Mechve Alon base commander, Lt. Col. Raz Karni.

      Mechve Alon base in the Lower Galilee is run by the Education Corps and helps new immigrant soldiers integrate into the IDF and Israeli society. The base offers education and immigrant tracks enabling soldiers to complete 12 years of schooling, improve their Hebrew, and find their places in Israeli society, beginning with their military service.