American 'Lone Soldier' Joined Israeli Army to Defend 'My People'

Sunday, 27 Jul 2014 08:49 AM

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An American teen who signed up to fight with the Israel Defense Forces told Newsmax TV's "America's Forum" he did so "to defend my people in Israel."

There are about 6,000 "lone soldiers" in the IDF, one-third of them Americans, according to Joseph Lenoff.

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So far, two American lone soldiers have been reported killed in the fighting in Gaza. The deaths have brought home the courage of many American youth who choose to serve in Israel, a small country surrounded by hostile Arab nations in the Middle East.

Like Lenoff, lone soldiers typically are men and women in the prime of their lives who have left their parents and often comfortable lives behind in places like Sydney, London, Los Angeles and elsewhere to join the Israel Defense Forces, marching in the desert and taking up arms to defend the Jewish state.

Groups for families of lone soldiers have recently started in Los Angeles and other cities, providing a support network as the fighting intensifies.

For Jews who left Israel before the age of 15 or who never lived there, their service is voluntary. For many, it is a calling, a way to get back to their roots and unite the world's Jewish population. Some have dual citizenship. Others speak little to no Hebrew and have only recently been to Israel.

"Lone soldiers are a kind of star in Israel," according to the Jewish Journal in a report. "For Israeli kids, army service is a rite of passage. But because it is a choice for the young members of the Diaspora who re-direct their own life paths to protect Israel, those enlistees are given a hero's welcome — and a lifetime of Shabbat dinner invitations from their fellow soldiers, who become their surrogate families."

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