For the second time this year, French millionaire Dominique Romano, 42, arrived in Israel as a volunteer for reserve duty in the IDF, and is enjoying every minute of it.
“I will come a third time if need be,” he said with a smile before he took off for a 24 hour stake out in Jenin with other reservists.
Like all soldiers in the Seam Line military company, Romano’s M-16 is also crossed.
But while his military company mates arrived to their reserve duty in the family car, Romano arrived straight from Paris on his private jet.
Still, the father of four’s mood was excellent, he had no complaints about the mission, nor about the military meals he would have to eat during the stake out. Even the military company’s living conditions – a few beds thrown inside an old shipping container – didn’t bother him.
At the end of his two week service he would take off his dusty uniform, get back on his jet, and fly to Paris in his business suit – until his next reserve duty.
“For me, this is a Zionist act,” Romano said. His romance with Israel started 10 years ago. Romano’s father, a Turkish Jew, lost his entire family at Auschwitz.
He married an Algerian Jew and started a family, but due to his difficult childhood experiences, Romano’s father preferred to keep his Jewishness low key and avoid contact with Israel.
About 10 years ago, Romano connected to Judaism and Israel. “It was like love for a woman,” he said, “Since then Israel has been in my mind, my body, my heart. Today I am willing to do anything for Israel because I understand that it is only because of Israel that I can continue to live as a Jew in France.”
Romano asked to enlist to the IDF and underwent short basic military training. When the volunteers military company for the Seam Line was established, he joined it has not missed a single reserve duty since.
“In France I have a gigantic house of 700 square meters, I have a driver and a body guard that accompany at all times. I have a good life. But when I’m called to duty, I get on my plane and come to Israel,” he said.
He continued, “I purchased the prestigious restaurant ‘La Prose’ on the banks of the Seine four years ago. The restaurant first opened in 1766, and people such as Victor Hugo, Emil Zola, and generations of prime ministers have dined there. These days Madonna dines there.”