From jail to the IDF's Golani Brigade

Meet Tvivo Desta, who was in prison as a minor - but now received his Golani Brigade beret in the IDF.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Golani soldiers
Golani soldiers
IDF Spokesperson

"At age 12 I was in jail for stabbing someone," recalls Tbibo Desta, who recently finished his training as a Golani Brigade soldier and will soon begin training to become an officer in the IDF.

Tbibo came to Israel at age three from Ethiopia with his family and quickly became a young man with real problems.

At age 12, he was sent to a correctional facility for attacking someone with a knife and resisting arrest. He continued to be in and out of jail for the next couple of years on violence and drug charges.

Tbibo explained to Channel 13 that he grew up in a neighborhood where "Pablo Escobar is the PM and El Chapo is the president, I didn't know anything else." He added that the youth in these areas are drawn to drugs and alcohol, committing petty theft because that's the easiest way to make money. His sole desire at these young ages was to grow in his criminal standing and make "the easy money." At age 17 he was part of a project in jail to change his ways. and decided that he wanted to join the IDF.

Tbibo joined a project in the south for lone soldiers and youth from difficult backgrounds there he underwent changes that he says he cannot describe, during this period he lost friends and saw how the path of criminality can only lead to death or prison. After which he joined a pre-army academy in the south of Israel, during which he was again charged in a previous case and received community service. "In the morning I worked as a prisoner in community service and in the afternoon I was a councilor for youth."

Tbibo now looks to lead in the IDF as an officer and regularly visits his old neighborhood in an attempt to influence other youth into changing their ways. He dreams of one day opening a pre-army academy in his old neighborhood to help others join the army and leave a future of crime and violence.