David Abraham, a former Tucsonan who made aliyah in 2008 after graduating from the University of Arizona and spent two years in the Israel Defense Forces, where he was a tank commander, has joined with other “lone soldiers” and native Israelis to launch a website that provides information, in English, on joining or volunteering with the Israeli army, www.IDFinfo.co.il.
A lone soldier is a soldier who doesn’t have his or her parents in Israel; more than 5,000 lone soldiers serve in the IDF annually.
The website is aimed at young Jews in the Diaspora who are thinking about aliyah and/or IDF service, says Abraham, with information on everything from service options, time obligations and benefits to what to pack for induction day.
It also includes a forum where participants can chat with IDF representatives and other lone soldiers; a parents’ network and a parents’ stories page that features entries from Abraham’s parents, Marlene and Bill, and fellow Tucsonan Jami Gan, whose son, Max, is an IDF paratrooper.
The website’s developers do not belong to any organization but one of the co-founders, Benji Davis, is currently coordinator for new immigrants at the IDF’s lishkat hagiyus (draft office). The site relies on donations to continue.
“We are just a group of young Zionists who decided to put our resources and passion together,” says Danny Fleischer, another co-founder. “We remember the struggle to find information when we first started thinking about joining the IDF. We didn’t want kids to have to go through that as well.”