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Applauding our Lone Soldiers

A day of rest and relaxation for Lone Soldiers, pictured above with Australian Ambassador to Israel, H.E. Chris Cannan, and Yigal Sela (Zionist Federation of Australia)

Telfed and the Australian Ambassador to Israel, H.E. Chris Cannan, hosted a brunch for lone soldiers from Australia and Southern Africa at the Ambassador’s Residence. The get-together provided an opportunity to acknowledge the contribution made by these young men and women. Participants were given a chance to meet with other lone soldiers from a familiar background, spend a morning swimming and hanging out and hearing more about Telfed and the services available (to the community at large as well as to lone soldiers, specifically). To complete the day, those present listened to the riveting experiences from the War of Independence from the legendary South African Machalnik , Smoky Simon. The machalniks (volunteers from overseas) played an invaluable role in 1948.

Following the event, a lone soldier from Johannesburg shared his thoughts and experiences:

“I grew up in the Jewish community in South Africa and due my education and upbringing I developed a huge love and passion for the land of Israel; for its people and all the importance and meaning that comes with it. In the time that I have been in Israel, I have realised that the lifestyle and culture can be hard to adjust to. It is a place that is filled with energy and emotion – there are moments that are truly amazing and inspiring, but there are times filled with challenges and obstacles. I think most olim can relate to this.

I came to Israel and joined the army straight after school. I’ll never be the same person as I was before joining the army. It pushed me to grow enormous amounts in so many different areas of life. Whether it’s making my bed in the morning or managing to keep to a schedule, being a good team player or standing up as a leader when needed, the things I have learned are more valuable than I ever expected and could not have been matched had I not made the choice to follow this path.

Since then I have started studying at IDC Herzliya. The student lifestyle can be tricky to get the hang of, balancing university work, student life and a side job without the support of family from close by. Sometimes it is hard to be here all alone.

Through thick and thin I have learned the importance of support from my friends from home who have also followed their hearts and dreams and moved to Israel. Throughout the journey, it has been very comforting to know that I have Telfed around the corner and a phone call away for any and all advice. It is amazing to know that you are really not alone. From their lone soldier events to their PRAS scholarship, I have been able to connect to the community in Israel and to give back to Israel while connecting to my roots and family history at the same time. I am so pleased with the choices I made and how these experiences have had such a positive impact on me.”

 

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