They range from Holland, Venezuela, USA, France and Russia with a common goal: to draft. As a result of a happy coincidence, they were all positioned in the IAF’s Ground Defense Division and received the opportunity to experience a significant service and contribute to Israel, their new home

Eliya Levitan | Translation: Ohad Zeltzer Zubida

In the Ground Defense Training Center in the IAF’s Infantry Academy, you may notice an interesting phenomenon which began lately: a very high percentage of the soldiers in key position in the center are soldiers who made Aliyah (the term for immigration of Jews to Israel) from all over the world and chose to draft.

SRGT. MAJ. Arlet Bachar for example, was born in Israel and at the age of three moved to France with her mother and brother. In 2009 when she was 20 years old, she decided to make Aliyah and return to Israel. “I always knew that I would return. I always said that I’m an Israeli”.

Different Countries, One Goal

Photography: Guy Ashash

In 2010, she drafted to the IAF and was positioned in the Infantry Academy’s Dog Handling Center. Today she is responsible for the Puppy Center. “I never dreamt that this would happen. I found a position which satisfies me – to instruct soldiers, tame dogs and take care of puppies. It is difficult, but very fulfilling. If you would have told me before I drafted that I would end up here in a few years, I wouldn’t believe you. I would laugh. Command so many soldiers? Instruct them? Make them succeed? I didn’t think that it could happen”.

“The soldiers who come from abroad want to make a change, build themselves. That isn’t something to be taken for granted”, she adds, “They hear that the position is challenging and interesting, that’s what happened to me, I knew beyond doubt that this was what I wanted to do. It isn’t just any service”.

PRVT. Anya Makrovsky studied in the School for Foundations of Medical Professions in Moscow. She always wanted to practice medicine, but her big dream was to draft in the IDF. Anya’s only connection to Israel was a family vacation and despite this, at the mere age of 15, she decided to leave her family in Russia and make Aliyah by herself. “It was a very spontaneous decision in fact. I wanted to make a transition into an independent life as fast as possible, do something new, see a different country. I loved the atmosphere in Israel, the caring and outspoken people and I decided that this is where I want to be”.

Different Countries, One Goal

Photography: Guy Ashash

When she finished her studies, she drafted in the IAF and also arrived in the Dog Handling Center where she serves as the assistant to the IAF veterinarian and is living her dream of practicing medicine. “It is better than I thought it would be. I met many new friends, my position is unconventional and I do something different every day. I visit other bases, take care of dogs and work in the lab. I have no regrets regarding my Aliyah and draft, I deeply enjoy my service”.

In the Ground Defense Training Center in the IAF’s Infantry Academy, there are quite a few soldiers from around the world: some from Holland, Venezuela and the US. They all left their families and homeland, came to Israel despite the difficulties, serve in the IAF and are full of motivation and a will to contribute.