Haredi soldier Nisim Blum from the IDF haredi Netzah Yehuda Brigade participated in a traditional celebratory dinner yesterday for lone soldiers and volunteers from abroad, at the sukkah of Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman. Blum, a volunteer from the US, told his personal story. Liberman was moved by his story and even assured Blum that his American accent wasn't so bad.
“First of all, where is Nisim Blum?” Liberman asked, and then he turned to the crowd saying: “You have a minister today who still makes grammatical mistakes and speaks with a heavy Russian accent. As I told you before, in Israel, the sky is the limit. It doesn’t matter if you are an immigrant or if you were born here, if you are determined and want to achieve your goals- everything is possible.”
During his speech Blum talked about what led him to join the army and the difficulties he encountered. “I always wanted to move to Israel," he said, "but I always worried that I wouldn't know the language and I would have a hard time acclimating to the culture. I figured that joining the IDF would be a great way to integrate into Israeli society and a way to learn the Israeli way of life while also affirming my own values. The reason I joined the haredi brigade is so that I can serve the country and still be religious and serve G-d. For those reasons I decided to leave home, even though it was hard on my family, and give myself to the country. To be a combatant means overcoming challenges and it doesn’t matter how difficult they are because we are protecting something greater than ourselves. Because faith is above all other things.”
Netzah Yehuda released a statement saying, “There are tens of Haredi soldiers, just like Blum, that have volunteered for the army and left their families behind. And there are so many Haredi Israeli lone soldiers who are no longer in contact with their families because they enlisted.” The organization praised those Haredi families that do grant support to Haredi lone soldiers and then added that, “we will continue to offer support to these soldiers so that they do not feel alone during their service.”