Every year, young Jews from all over the world show up in Israel and volunteer to join the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).  Called “lone soldiers,” they commit to the same enlistment mandated for most Israelis, male and female, and decades more of reserve duty.  As far as I know, no other country enjoys such a program (unless you liberally count the French Foreign Legion — and I don’t).

A few years ago, a young female friend of the family who’d grown up in relative affluence decided that she couldn’t stand by idly anymore.  Not only did this California girl fly to Israel and volunteer as a lone soldier, she decided that she wanted to join an elite unit — the training for which requires as much strength of mind as body.  She shared some of the details afterward, and suffice to say that the imposed conditions were unimaginably onerous.  “They want to see if you’ll break,” she explained.  “Better there than when it really counts.”

After completing her two-year hitch, she met an Israeli man (whom I’ve met and like), and just weeks ago they were married.  They live, of course, in Israel.  I cannot think of anyone I’m more proud to call friend than this young woman — and, for that matter, more proud to know.

Let me share with you her most recent email, sent just before the phony ceasefire was announced.  (Speaking of which: In a tweet yesterday, I wondered what each side was promised in exchange for letting Hillary Clinton take credit. I’m still wondering.) It offers another side of Israel’s reality that the mainstream press goes out of its way to ignore.  These same reporters avert their eyes morally when Hamas summarily executes Arabs and drags the corpses behind motorcycles.

[XXX] and I are both fine, and as far as I know all of my friends are okay as well. I was home and heard the explosion, it was less than half a mile from our apartment. Obviously the situation is getting further and further out of control. I have posted Israeli news sites [see below] which are more accurate than foreign news sites. I am asking from now on none of you post on facebook, not on mine or anyone else in Israel’s asking where the bomb was, if it was close to us, or anything related to the situation. Terrorist organizations are using social media sites such as facebook to track their accuracy and it is only helping them. You can send me private emails and I’ll answer as quickly as I can but do not use facebook. They can track anyone who has an Israeli IP address (whoever is using a computer from Israel pretty much) and they can then track us and where they are hitting. Israeli media is also not commenting too much where rockets hit on purpose. You can post different pictures supporting Israel but nothing talking about specifics or posting on people’s walls asking about specifics. It only brings attention to those who’s facebook you are posting on and yourself. Have a great Thanksgiving.

http://www.ynet.co.il/  – (on the top left hand corner there is a button for English under the word HOT in red, it changes the news page to English)

http://www.jpost.com/

http://www.timesofisrael.com/