Sgt. Yossi Nadel of the Kfir Infantry Brigade just finished his training and a course to become a sergeant.
His story, as a “lone soldier,” is inspirational.
In another month, as a sergeant, he’ll become a commander of 12 soldiers and take them through training.
Nadel spoke to Arutz Sheva about his current life in the army, and the path he took to get there.
Nadel was born and grew up in Detroit, Michigan before coming to Israel for yeshiva and then joining the army.
“I came to Israel for yeshiva, not knowing if I’d for sure stay here for the rest of my life but once I got to yeshiva, I really was happy there, I got to know the Americans and also the Israelis there, and I decided this is my home, this is a place where I want to be and I went to the army,” he said.
He grew up in a very Zionist community in Detroit. There was many Israeli emissaries there as well. His family was happy for him and very supportive of his decision to stay on and serve in the army. His brother Yoni made aliyah before him, and was an inspiration for his decision to come to Israel. He has two other brothers. One of them also made aliyah. He hopes his oldest brother will do so as well. His parents are currently in the early process of making aliyah.
He called Israel “naturally my home.”
“I came to Israel and I felt at home,” he said.
As a lone soldier, he has never felt alone. He got to know other lone soldiers, and they became “one family.”
The other soldiers in his unit were also always looking out for him, helping him if he needed anything, and inviting him to Shabbat dinner.
He also has family in Israel. His grandmother lives in Israel – the pioneer of the family who made aliyah first. She has long been inspiring them to come to Israel – “always showing us the beauty of Israel.”
“Everyone’s giving to me, and helping me out,” he said. “For me, I knew that if I succeeded in the army, I was… giving from everything I have to the army and to Israel. And so once I went to being a commander I knew that I was totally becoming a giver, totally sacrificing myself for the army and for my 12 soldiers.”
Is he worried that the language barrier will be a problem with his new unit?
“The language barrier is definitely a fear, (although) throughout my service my Hebrew has improved,” he said, noting his study of Hebrew began during his time in yeshiva.
In the army, he started to work hard on his conversational Hebrew. “Just being with friends, totally engulfed with an Israeli group.”
As a commander, he faces his next challenge where he will have to speak in Hebrew. “I have to lead my soldiers, and know how to motivate and inspire them in Hebrew.”
His story of being a lone soldier who succeeded and became a commander inspires other soldiers.
“I definitely see it inspiring my friends, and I really hope it will inspire my soldiers too,” he said.
He noted that he comes from several generations of soldiers, which has motivated him in his military service.
His grandfather, who he hopes will make aliyah, is a Holocaust survivor who came to America and served in the army. His grandfather’s father served in the army back in Europe.
“That sort of started the line of soldiers in our family. And that’s also an inspiration. He always told me the importance of knowing how to survive, knowing how to defend yourself. That’s another big inspiration for joining the IDF, learning how to defend not myself but the State of Israel.”