Daily Israel Report

US Jewish Teens Answer Hizbullah and Iran by Enlisting in IDF

Zionism lives: A record number of 350 US teens are moving to Israel this summer to enlist in the IDF, some of them in elite combat units.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 7/24/2012, 8:37 AM

New immigrants arrive in Israel
New immigrants arrive in Israel
Israel news photo courtesy of Nefesh B'Nefesh

A record number of 350 American teens are enlisting in the IDF this summer, “the best answer to Iran’s and Hizbullah’s terror,” and many of them are serving in elite commando units, according to military spokesmen.

The majority of the youth, ages 18-22, want to enlist in combat and infantry units. The Nefesh B’Nefesh aliyah organization, along with the Ministry of Absorption, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Friends of the IDF (FIDF) and Tzofim Garin Tzabar, will fly 120 of the future IDF soldiers to Israel as part of the summer aliyah project to bring Jews from the Diaspora to Israel and directly serve in the armed forces.

Erez Halfon, vice chairman of Nefesh B'Nefesh, said, “The best answer to Iran and Hizbullah’s terror is for Jewish teens from North America to leave behind the easy life for their Zionistic ideal."

The Garin Tzabar program enables interested teens from all across the globe to immigrate to Israel and serve in the IDF. In cooperation with the Israeli Scouts (Tzofim) and the Education and Youth Corps, the program accompanies the volunteers as they are absorbed in Israel, living in kibbutzim and throughout their military service. Today, more than 20 percent of the IDF are new immigrants.

Founded more than 20 years ago, the Garin Tzabar project has already helped more than 1,500 teens from all around the world join the IDF and approximately 70 percent of the immigrants have stayed in Israel after their service.

With the Garin (core group), they learn about the army and Israel, tour the country, and are prepared for their military service. The program gives them a home and supports the teens throughout their service. The number of teens joining the program as well as the number of Garin Tzabar soldiers taking on commanding positions increases every year, the IDF said.