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      Spotlight: From Iran to the IDF

      Until 18 months ago, S. lived in her Iranian Jewish community and dreamed of making Aliyah. Now, she is serving in Israel's Border Police.
      By Tova Dvorin
      First Publish: 11/26/2013, 11:28 AM

      IDF soldiers welcoming immigrants (illustrative)
      IDF soldiers welcoming immigrants (illustrative)
      Flash90

      Sixty young people will be accepted into the Border Patrol Unit of the IDF Tuesday in the village of Maaleh Michmash - and among them is S., an Iranian new immigrant, according to a story by Yediot Aharonot.

      S. immigrated to Israel from Iran 18 months ago - leaving her entire family behind in the Islamic Republic. "Since I was a little girl, my dream was to move to Israel and join the army," S. stated. She is now 23. "Hopefully my family will be able to follow me here one day." 

      S. was born in Iran, to a religious Jewish family. She immigrated through the Jewish Agency by herself, leaving behind her parents and two brothers. "They do not want to come to Israel in the meantime," she says. "We talk on the phone and over the Internet. I hope later they will come here too. I really miss them." After her immigration she was housed in an absorption center and learned Hebrew in an "ulpan" Hebrew-language school.

      Ulpan studies were fairly easy for S., who came with the advantage of knowledge from home: S. was educated in a Jewish day school where she learned to read Hebrew and pray. S., like many Diaspora Jews, was given both a Jewish name and a Persian name. She also learned about Israel from television. 

      "On television, Iran did not show good things about Israel, always only bad things," S. explained. "The government there does not like Israel, but the people themselves do not care. They just want to live well. People do not like that the government is investing a lot of money in the nuclear program."

      S. says that since her childhood she wanted to move to Israel and join the IDF. "When I got to Israel they asked me to say my name to get an ID card. It was my first time ever using my Jewish name," she recalls. "For me it was a significant moment in my life." 

      After completing Ulpan, S. joined the Border Police and began basic training in August 2013. "I wanted to be a combat fighter, to play a significant role. I chose the Border Police and since I joined, I've been enjoying every minute of it," she glowed. "I found good friends and I get treated well. Everyone here is like family to me."