Today, appreciation ceremonies for the IAF’s lone soldiers in honor of the upcoming Independence Day were held and led by IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel. As a part of the event, SRGT. Anton Polzrov met his mother Marina after three years

Eilon Tohar | Translation: Ohad Zeltzer Zubida

As every year, today, after Passover, appreciation ceremonies for lone soldiers in honor of Independence Day were here held in the Israel Air Force Center in Herzliya, led by IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel. “We recently commemorated thousands of years of freedom from slavery and we will soon commemorate the country’s establishment”, said the IAF Commander during the ceremonial toast for the Lone Soldiers. “We cannot protect it alone, we need our people. Each one of us contributes and together we cannot be broken. You are our hope”.

“We don’t leave anyone alone in our family”

Photography: Mor Tzidon

After three years: Reunited with his mother
The traditional event was a special day for SRGT. Anton Polzrov, an ambulance driver in the Nevatim AFB infirmary. SRGT. Polzov hadn’t seen his family in three years, until today, because of the security risk entailed in traveling back home, to the Crimean Peninsula. But SRGT. Polzov’s mother Marina attended the ceremony today, and the two were reunited. “I obvisouly didn’t expect this at all, I am still in shock. I made a long way and I feel very satisfied with my two and a half years of service so far”. Marina said: “I want to thank you all. The force, the commanders. I am very proud of my son”.

CRPL. Alex, a technician in the Aerial Maintenance Unit in Tel-Nof AFB, also attended the ceremony today. In the beginning of his service CRPL. Alex, who lives with his Grandmother, experienced many hardships, but has since been able to integrate and today he sets the next goal for himself: to be the unit’s outstanding soldier. “In the beginning I had a very tough time, but today I try to think about my service as an experience”, he shares. “I now feel connected to my unit, the people around me and the atmosphere on base, and today I see the importance in contributing as much as possible as opposed to just passing time. I don’t think I would find myself in another country”.

This is our chance to say thank you”, said the IAF Commander to the Lone Soldiers. “People making choices like yours shouldn’t be taken for granted, and at such a young age. You are not alone. Your commanders and service conditions personnel are deeply committed to you. Your contribution is tremendous, you set an example for contribution, giving, and perseverance”.

“We don’t leave anyone alone in our family”

Photography: Mor Tzidon

Without a Motherly Hug
CRPL. Maria made “Aliyah” to Israel six years ago from Moldova. At the mere age of 14 she left everything behind and immigrated to Israel alone as a part of the “Naale” program. “In Moldova I didn’t know much about what was happening in Israel and service in the IDF. Today, when I tell my family and friends from home that I am a soldier, it is very strange to them. It isn’t common in Russian speaking countries, where women aren’t even allowed to draft”, said CRPL. Maria, who is currently serving as a facilities security guard in “Sde-Dov” AFB. “I didn’t know where I was going, but today I am enjoying my service so much that when I was offered to shorten it by six months, I said no. I have a structure here that is helping me before beginning real life”.

“Military service is meaningful for every soldier, but for you it is even more meaningful”, concluded Maj. Reli Zin, Head of the Mandatory Service Conditions in the Personnel Directorate. “You set an example for soldiers who deal with all of the same hardships, but when you get home you do not have a motherly hug waiting for you. It is important for you to know that you are not alone. You are a part of the IAF family and we don’t leave anyone alone in our family”.