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For fourteen months he served in the Kfir Brigade of the Israeli infantry. He knew what he was getting into. Most of the time, his unit was deployed in the Palestinian territories. But Gerry Markovich didn't want it to be easier for him than for his Israeli comrades. "It wasn't a walk in the park. There were very tough situations," he recalls. When stones flew against Israelis, his troops sealed off the entrances to Palestinian villages. They deployed during demonstrations and at night to arrest car thieves or wanted Hamas members. "In Israel, you can't do without the military. The state exists only because the army is strong," he says. The "Israel Defense Forces" - as the armed forces are called - are there to protect Israel, not to wage wars of aggression, he says.

Gerry Markovich was clear about who he wanted to protect. The country has been familiar to him since he was a child. His grandparents live near Tel Aviv. "My grandpa was in a concentration camp and helped build Israel afterwards. I wanted to make my own contribution as an Israeli soldier," the student says. That is much appreciated in Israel. When he once visited his grandparents, they had an almost ninety-year-old friend as a guest. As soon as she saw him, she jumped up and saluted with tears in her eyes. The sight of the German in the Israeli uniform had deeply moved the woman, who survived the Holocaust.

Engagement opportunities for lone soldiers:

Einsame Soldaten in der IDF

Five days after his final high school graduation, Gerry Markovich was on a plane to Tel Aviv. As the others celebrated graduation, the eighteen-year-old from Frankfurt was already being drilled by his Israeli instructors.

And while his classmates were traveling the world, he was patrolling the West Bank. "I was super proud to wear the Israeli uniform as a Jew from Germany. Especially during morning roll call with the Israeli national anthem," says Gerry Markovich, who is now 21 and studying business administration in Heidelberg.

"Lonely" Soldiers in Israel's IDF (Israel Defense Force).

In the Israel Defense Forces serve over 6,000 lonely soldiers, who live far from their biological families. About half of these soldiers come from abroad. They voluntarily leave relatives, friends and a comfortable, mostly safe life, and commit themselves to dangerous military service in the Holy Land. They are filled with motivation to serve and support Israel. Others are Israelis, who cannot live at home for various reasons. More than half of the lonely soldiers serve in combat units.
Unlike other soldiers who go home to their families on weekends, lonely soldiers find only an empty apartment. They have no parents to hug them, to wash and iron their uniforms, to cook dinner for them. They are also almost completely dependent on themselves financially. The sacrifice that the lonely soldiers take upon themselves is impressive.

Serving and dying for a "foreign" country

by Hans Christian Rössler - Excerpt (Source: FAZ 27.11.2015)

Davidstern blau
Davidstern blau
Davidstern blau
Davidstern blau
Davidstern blau

Here you can find other articles from Brigitte B. Nussbächer

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