Fighting for the homeland


Photos courtesy of Omer Brem

Seniors Lianne Eaves and Omer Brem prepare their journey in Israel

Living under nonstop threats of war and regular missile attacks from terrorist organizations is a fear no one should live with.

For Israeli citizens, joining the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF, is a mandatory service to protect the only Jewish nation in the world. The lone democratic state in the Middle East suffers constant tension with surrounding countries; thus, possessing a large military is a necessity.

In the IDF, women must serve a minimum of two years and men must serve a minimum of three. Service begins after personnel graduate from high school.

Current seniors Omer Brem, Lianne Eaves and Alon Klemm are joining the IDF after graduation.

“We start Aug. 19 after flying [to Israel] on Aug. 17,” Eaves said.

Garin Tzabar is the program that recruits people coming from nations outside of Israel and who have no immediate family in Israel. Garin Tzabar is used to connect future soldiers with one another from different regions around the world.

“It is basically lone soldiers from Southern California who go to Israel in a group,” Brem said. “We live together, and later we draft.”

All members of the IDF must be fluent in Hebrew, the native dialect of the Jewish people and the official language of Israel. Depending on the distinct position, primarily intelligence, one might have to be fluent in Arabic.

“You have to be able to communicate with the people there,” Brem said. “[Knowing Arabic] is also good for safety reasons, because it is dangerous being a soldier in the land of Israel.”

After service, IDF members have the option to make Aliyah, which involves immigrating to Israel and participating in a program to receive free college education in Israel after finishing service, which Eaves plans to make. However, Brem is still undecided while Klemm will not participate in Aliyah.

“Since I’m [already] an Israeli citizen, I am not doing Aliyah,” Klemm said. “I lived there most of my life, so it’s just that I’m coming back.”