The Bakum Flight To Israel Of Nefesh B’Nefesh

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UPDATE 6 am Israel time Tuesday:

Mortar fire on the border with Syria yesterday--at one point shells hit within 400 meters of Israel.

It has been an eventful 24 hours with Palestinian terrorist rocket fire from Gaza directed against the Eshkol region of southern Israel, mortar fire in the demilitarized zone between Syria and Israel on the Golan Heights directed by Syrian rebels against the Syrian Army, gunfire from Sinai targeting Israeli construction workers on the Egyptian-Israel border, and “rock” assaults that wounded IDF soldiers in Judea and Samaria.

All in all, yesterday shows the precarious position Israel finds herself in.

TODAY’S BLOG:

Three weeks from now, a plane will arrive in Israel carrying 400 new immigrants to Israel from North America. 130 of these immigrants will be young Jews who are immigrating to Israel in order to join the Israel Defense Forces. They are being brought to Israel by Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization that encourages immigration from North America and the United Kingdom to Israel (click here to find out more).

And they are just the first wave.

Later in the summer another 220 young immigrants from North America will arrive to become citizens of Israel and to join the IDF.

According to information received in advance by the IDF, most of the women will be volunteering to be medics, education guides, firearms instructors, or to join the Oketz (The IDF K-9 unit) . Their male counterparts have mainly expressed interest in some of the IDF’s premier combat units such as Duvdevan, Sayeret Matkal, Shayetet 13, the paratroopers and the Israeli Air Force flight academy.

And almost all of these immigrant soldiers will be a chayal boded–a “lone soldier”–meaning that they will have left all of their family behind back in the United States and Canada.

And what do these chayalim bodedim have in store for them?

First they will be taken to the Bakum (hence the nickname of the flight), the huge military induction center at Tel HaShomer in Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv. They will be x-rayed, fingerprinted, given three inoculations, made to fill out numerous forms, and then issued their uniforms and equipment which consists of: a kit bag, two towels, three pairs of underwear, three undershirts, five pairs of socks, three pairs of army pants, three army shirts, one belt, one beret, two pairs of boots, one sweater, one winter jacket, and one bag of miscellaneous equipment.

New male IDF recruits at the Bakum--getting ready to be shipped out for basic training.

After they are processed, these new recruits will then be shipped out for basic training at the bases at which they will probably serve. And then–the rigorous IDF basic training itself begins–after which they will become full-fledged soldiers of the IDF.

IDF soldiers after basic training with one of their officers.

At a time when military and national service is being debated here in Israel, there is something intensely wonderful about these young people coming to Israel to serve–and to make Israel their country. Everyone here in Israel appreciates their sacrifice and rejoices in their love for the state of Israel.

What have you done for Israel today?

*(Sources of information for today’s blog: Yediot Aharonot and Nefesh B’Nefesh)

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