IDF soldier born to Gaza parents commended for excellence
His mother and father moved to Israel 30 years ago and had two sons here, both of whom chose to convert to Judaism and enlist in Israeli military after being encouraged at home; on Independence Day, 21-year-old Sergeant A., will receive a citation of excellence
The 21-year-old Staff Sergeant A., is a career soldier in the Technology and Logistics Division and is currently preparing for an officers' course he is about to start.
His parents moved to Israel when the borders were still open. They managed to successfully assimilate and build new lives over the border where they became parents to two sons, one of whom is Sergeant A. The two boys decided to convert to Judaism and later enlist in Israel Defense Forces.
He began his service supervising military workshops and was later appointed as the head of the planning and development division. In the last few months, before deciding to sign-up for the officer's course, he served as operations officer of his platoon.
"I didn’t think I’d be able to achieve that, it’s a dream come true," Sergeant A., said about receiving the citation of excellence. “Since I became a career soldier, I’ve worked insane hours and tried to do my best. I’m happy that it’s been appreciated because they told me they’re giving me the citation for my hard work.”
The soldier said his parents are also Israeli patriots and his fathers had dreamt about his sons enlisting in the military. "Our parents are very excited about the ceremony," he said, adding that when he told his father he’s going to be an officer, the father broke into tears of joy.
"My family is the main source of my strength, to have complete support from them is not a given,” he added.
The sergeant's extended family still lives in Gaza, but he says he’s not in touch with them and would never visit them even if he could. “I barely speak Arabic,” he said. “When the parents speak to me in Arabic, I always answer in Hebrew. I always felt Jewish, and Judaism was an inseparable part of me even before the conversion.” He said he celebrated the Passover at his parents’ house.
The soldiers says he doesn’t try to hide his Gazan roots from either his friends or the military. "It's always accompanied by follow-up questions, but I'm Jewish and Israeli, and proud of myself and my parents who chose to come to Israel."