In an open letter, a group called the League of Lone Soldiers are petitioning the IDF to rejoin their units and take to the front lines with their former brother’s in arms, and they are calling on you to share this letter to express your support.
- Lone soldiers: The IDF's unsung heroes
- 20,000 Israelis attend lone soldier Sgt. Sean Carmeli's funeral
- 30,000 attend funeral for lone soldier Max Steinberg
“We are a group of about 30 lone soldiers, our numbers are rising continuously as more ex-lone soldiers hear about what we are trying to do,” Eli Smus, the group’s founder says.
Smus, 24, from London, made aliyah after serving in the paratroopers elite 101st unit, and despite being wounded during his service (he completed his service as a shooting instructor) he is more than willing to go back to fighting.
“We have all finished our active service and want to join reserves as volunteers and join our brothers in the field,” he told Ynet, “We have guys from every infantry unit from all over the world willing to fly back to Israel at a moments notice to rejoin.”
Yaacov Berdugo, 22, from New Jersey, recalls that when the three Israeli teens went missing, before Gaza offensive began, he suddenly “felt the longing to return to Israel and help my brothers bring the boys home.”
After Operation Protective Edge began, his desire to help grew, and with it the frustration of not being allowed to do so. “The anxiety that followed is hard to explain,” he said
“I wanted to be with my friends fighting for Israel more than anything in the world. I was fully prepared to drop everything n America and come serve my country.”
However, lone soldiers do not serve as reserves and are barred from re-joining military ranks, mostly for technical and bureaucratic reasons stemming from the specific service tracks offered to them. However, this group is determined to get back to the front lines.
In an open letter they detail how they waited outside an IDF base pleading with military to allow them back in, and now they want your support.
To whom this may concern,
We, The League of Lone Soldiers, are a group of around 30 former lone soldiers who all came to Israel over the last years as part of the Machal program, coming from countries across the world such as the US, UK, France and others. This is a track in the army available to anyone who isn’t an Israeli citizen, it means serving 18 months in the IDF standing shoulder to shoulder with our brothers from Israel. Most of us served in combat units including all Infantry units such as Tzanchanim, Golani, Nachal, Givati and Kfir.
We are writing this letter to serve a purpose. When we heard the news of the IDF beginning Operation Protective Edge we opened a WhatsApp group with the aim of discussing how we can re-join the IDF and defend our country. We were all in unison that we didn’t join the IDF in order to serve 18 months and go back to our normal lives. Many of our units are still in active duty. We found it impossible to be in a situation where our “brothers” are fighting and defending our country and we are not there with them. Many of us called in every favour possible in order to try and re-join, however we were met with rejections across the board.
We sit at home helpless, reading the news about each soldier who has been injured or killed and each one is like a bullet piercing our hearts. Most of the soldiers who have been killed have been known personally by at least one of us.
A few of us decided enough was enough and we were going to push our way back. We went to the Tel Hashomer base and stood outside for hours on end waiting to be let in. The soldiers at the main gate of the base kept asking us what we were doing there. Our answer remained the same each time. We are here from all over the world to go back to the army and defend our country. The reaction from each soldier who asked us was the same, are you crazy? they asked us, so many Israelis want to get away from the army and you crazy people not only volunteered to join in the first place, you want to go back now?
After many long hours under the burning Tel Aviv sun, we managed to get a high ranking officer who happened to pass by us to listen to our story and he brought us into the base. However our happiness was short lived. We were told unequivocally by the Reserve Office that there was no way we could go back.
Morale unbroken we decided to take a few days and see what we could come up with to get our wish. Yesterday we, as well as most of the world read a Ynet article on 50 soldiers who refused to answer the call of the country they were born and lived in to go back for reserves after disobeying the Tzav 8 (the IDF order calling reservists back for duty). We were in shock, the immediate reaction of everyone on the group was why waste the Tzav 8 on them? Here we are waiting and ready, bags ready to go back to the army. We decided to write this open letter and send it to whoever will listen.
We, the Lone Soldier family of the IDF, while we mourn the loss of all our brothers throughout the IDF, especially the heart-breaking losses of our friends, Max Steinberg z”l, Shawn Carmeli z”l and Jordan Bensimol z”l. 3 lone soldiers, heroes, who fell while defending this land, this safe zone for Jews across the world.
We will not back down, we will not sit quietly in the corner. We want to go back to our boys in the field.
Please share this letter on your Facebook so it reaches as many people as possible and opens the ears of those who need to hear about it.
The League of Lone Soldiers