Yehuda Medwin, 24, has already seen some battlefields in his lifetime: The former Marine served in Iraq for more than one year, and upon his release from the US Marine Corps decided to immigrate to Israel, become religious and join the IDF's Givati Brigade.
Medwin was born to a Jewish family in the New York area. After high school, he decided to fulfill an old dream and serve as a fighter in the Marine Corps.
"All my life I knew that I wanted to be a soldier, I knew that I wanted to serve in a combat unit, so immediately after graduating from high school I joined the Marines," he says.
He underwent basic training and another advanced course, and after one year in uniform was sent to Iraq for the first time. After seven months in one of the world's most difficult fronts, he left for a different activity before returning to Iraq for an additional seven months.
"The first time there was a sense of war, but the second time it was easier," he recalls. "There were situations in which I was nearly killed, like the time a roadside bomb exploded next to us on the road between Fallujah and Mahdi. Thank God I came out of it alive, it was very dangerous. It was difficult because it's really far away from home."
After completing four years of combat service, Medwin decided to quit the Marines. Less than two months later he landed in Ben-Gurion Airport as a new immigrant, without his parents, and quickly found himself outside the IDF recruitment center.
He volunteered for the Givati Brigade, underwent basic training and other courses, and is currently stationed on the northern border.
"In the Marines it was much tougher and demands are very high," Medwin admits, smiling.
Since immigrating to Israel, his religious belief has become stronger and he plans to start studying at a Jerusalem yeshiva upon his release in about five months.
Zvika Levy, who is in charge of lone immigrant soldiers in the Kibbutz Movement, says that Yehuda is "an oleh filled with motivation and a desire to contribute to the IDF and State of Israel."
Levy adds that Medwin was absorbed as part of a first group of eight lone soldiers in the religious Kibbutz Meirav, located on the downward slopes of Mount Gilboa.
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