Tagged Israel Defense Forces

Why a Bible-toting, onion-eating British officer remains a hero in Israel 75 years after his death

Orde Wingate, center, with Special Night Squads members. (Beit Shturman)

HOF HACARMEL, Israel (JTA) — Few non-Jews and even fewer British soldiers are regarded as highly in Israel as Orde Charles Wingate, a senior officer who became a legend here by shaping Israel’s prestate military. Many Israeli towns have a Wingate street or square, and relatives and others who share… Read more »

Volunteering on IDF base, Tucsonan fulfills lifelong dream of living like a sabra

Tucsonan Charlotte Low with "the Boss" who oversaw her volunteer job on an Israel Defense Forces base.

This is not your worried bubbe’s idea of a tourist tour of the Holy Land. For that you get one picture on a camel (careful!) and stay in four-star hotels. If you crave an insider’s view, being a Volunteer For Israel is adventurous and transformational. Serious fun. My own… Read more »

Deaths on Gaza border hand Hamas a PR victory and Israel an angry internal debate

A Palestinian protester burning tires during clashes with Israeli forces near the border of the southern Gaza Strip, April 2, 2018. (Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — When the smoke from the rifles of Israeli sharpshooters and the firebombs thrown by Gaza Palestinians cleared in the wake of the Palestinian March of Return, there were at least 15 Palestinians dead and hundreds of protesters injured. Israel, meanwhile, had a huge PR mess. Israeli… Read more »

Why an Israeli soldier insists he beat a Palestinian, but the army doesn’t buy it

Dean Issacharoff is the spokesman for Breaking the Silence, a much-maligned nonprofit that opposes Israel's military occupation in the West Bank. (Screenshot from Facebook)

TEL AVIV (JTA) – Imagine for a moment that a soldier is suspected of misconduct in the field. Typically, someone might be expected to report the soldier, prompting the army to investigate. The soldier might deny any wrongdoing. Well, in Israel, a recent case unfolded in almost exactly the opposite way.… Read more »

Poor Israeli soldiers earn cash by taking on rich colleagues’ guard duty

Israeli soldiers rest from training in northern Israel, June 14, 2009. (Matanya Tausig/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – The Israel Defense Forces takes pride in its status as a “people’s army.” More than just a military, the IDF embraces its reputation as an equalizing force in Israeli society. Every soldier, rich and poor, is supposed to learn during mandatory army service what it takes… Read more »

In focus 12.2.16

JNF welcomes IDF hero and humanitarian  Israel Defense Forces Major Gen. (Res.) Doron Almog spoke at a Jewish National Fund event in Tucson on Tuesday, Nov. 15. Almog, who was awarded a 2016 Israel Prize for lifetime achievement, led the operational task force in Tripoli against terrorists who killed… Read more »

Commando recalls drama of Entebbe rescue

(L-R): Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin of Chabad Tucson, Sassy Reuven, Marlyne Freedman and Oshrat Barel, director of the Weintraub Israel Center. (Yvette Critchfield)

It was perhaps the most daring hostage rescue mission ever attempted: a middle-of-the-night raid on a Ugandan airport terminal to retrieve more than 100 hostages. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Israel Defense Force’s historic raid on Entebbe, officially known as Operation Thunderbolt. On Jan. 24, veteran… Read more »

How a one-armed American soldier fought his way back into the Israeli army

Izzy Ezagui, center, and fellow reserve soldiers in 2014. (Courtesy of Izzy Ezagui)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The hardest part was loading the assault rifle. That’s not because he was a newbie, unaccustomed to the workings of a Tavor rifle. Rather, 1st Sgt. Izzy Ezagui had lost an arm in combat. He’d overcome seemingly insurmountable bureaucratic hurdles and got a posting on a… Read more »

Deciphering satellite photos, soldiers with autism take on key roles in IDF

TEL AVIV (JTA) — Sitting in front of a computer at the center of Israel’s largest army base, a soldier stares at the screen, moving pixel by pixel over a satellite photograph, picking out details and finding patterns. A few years ago N.S., who has autism, thought the Israel Defense Forces wouldn’t take him.… Read more »

On Israel trip, Rep. McSally sees security threats, Israeli resiliency firsthand

Rep. Martha McSally on the 2015 Republican congressional trip to Israel, after a briefing about the operation of an Iron Dome missile defense battery, seen behind her. (Courtesy Office of U.S. Rep. Martha McSally)

U.S. Rep. Martha McSally joined 25 Republican legislators on a whirlwind trip to Israel earlier this month. McSally, who was elected to represent Arizona’s Second Congressional District last fall and serves on the Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, said she chose to participate in the trip to get… Read more »

At Aspen, wounded IDF vets learn to ski — and overcome obstacles

Israeli army veteran Yinon Cohen, 31, surprised his ski instructors at Challenge Aspen with his determination to ski unaided except for his prosthetic legs. (Nina Zale)

(JTA) — After Yinon Cohen lost his legs in an accident involving a rocket-propelled grenade, it wasn’t clear he’d ever be able to walk again, much less ski down a peak in the Rocky Mountains. A fresh-faced soldier in the Israel Defense Forces’ elite Golani brigade, Cohen was in… Read more »

Despite hardships, some Bedouins still feel obligation to serve Israel

An IDF soldier during a training exercise of the Desert Reconnaissance Battalion of the Gaza Division, which is primarily composed of Bedouins, Nov. 2010

On an August weekday afternoon, 19-year-old Mohammed Kernowi stands in front of a small store in Israel’s largest Bedouin city, a hot plate in front of him with small pancakes sizzling in preparation for the end of that day’s Ramadan fast. At his age, many Israeli men have been… Read more »

Seeking Kin: An IDF unit helps answer the cry, ‘Where is my son?’

The “Seeking Kin” column aims to help reunite long-lost friends and relatives. BALTIMORE (JTA) — On Jan. 3, 1948, Mordechai Levy, a resident of the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City, disappeared. The 17-year-old’s parents, David and Yaffa, alerted British mandatory authorities and checked local hospitals, the chevra kadisha… Read more »

Israel’s army gears up for one of its biggest operations: Passover

IDF soldiers raise a glass at ta model Seder on their base. (IDF Spokesperson)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — With Passover nearing, the Israeli army is embarking on one of its biggest operations of the year. Whether in the field, on a base or with family living abroad, “every last soldier has everything he needs for Seder night,” asserts Capt. Ze’ev Rosens, rabbi of the… Read more »

Controversy grows in Israel over extension of Tal Law granting haredim army exemptions

Soldiers from the Israeli army's haredi Orthodox unit called the Netzah Yehuda Battalion praying. (Abir Sultan/Flash90/JTA)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — When Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, granted a few hundred haredi Orthodox Jews an exemption from army service, it’s likely he never dreamed that 63 years later, tens of thousands of haredi Israelis would claim the exemption — or that the issue would be among… Read more »

Young Filipinos integrating into Israeli society, but not without difficulties

Filipinos light Chanukah candles in their home in South Tel Aviv on Nov. 24, 2010 in advance of the Jewish holiday. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90/JTA)

TEL AVIV (JTA) — With eyes closed, it would have been difficult to guess that the female voice with the amazing range singing a Hebrew classic was a shy-looking, 11-year-old Filipina. But there was Kathleen Eligado performing Miri Aloni’s “Ballad of Hedva and Shlomik” before a prime-time television audience… Read more »

Attacks by radical settlers on Israeli army spark debate

YITZHAR, West Bank (JTA) — Charred tires and boulders pushed to the sides of the road leading to Yitzhar, a West Bank Jewish community near Nablus, were among the signs that residents had made an effort to prevent Israeli soldiers and police from entering the settlement. Patches of grease… Read more »

To help with war trauma, Israeli soldiers take Manhattan

Shay Shem Tobi, left, and Levy Forchheimer enjoying the cocktail party and comedy night thrown in honor of visiting Israeli soldiers by the Manhattan Jewish Experience, July 2011. (JTA)

NEW YORK (JTA) — When Israel wanted to help its troops, it sent them to America. Last month, 15 former soldiers selected by the Israel Defense Forces traveled to New York for a weeklong program to treat lingering trauma from their combat during the 2006 Lebanon War with Hezbollah.… Read more »