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'Noles for Israel hosts Israeli Soldier Stories
'Noles for Israel hosts Israeli Soldier Stories
Soldiers serving in the Middle East share personal war experiences with FSU students

Sharon (top) and Yishai (bottom) will share military experiences Feb. 21 during ’Noles for Israel’s Israeli Soldier Stories. / Photos courtesy of Daniel Ackerman

By Mariel Gaetano
February 20, 2013

The racing of a heart beat, getting lost in between the striking of each gunshot begins to fade out, and the thoughts of loved ones back home and making it out alive begin to take over.

Sharing the in-depth details about their time serving are Israeli soldiers, Yishai and Sharon. Their personal story-telling as members of the Israeli Defense Forces will take place on Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Student Services Building.

’Noles For Israel, a student-run organization, is in charge of the premiere event, Israeli Soldier’s Stories (I.S.S.). Initiated in 2008, ’Noles For Israel’s goal is to educate the student body on Middle Eastern matters. The organization is notable for events such as Sing Your Heart Out held each year to benefit Israeli organizations.

“I am an Emerson Fellow of StandWithUs, an organization in charge of nationwide Israel-related college programs, and so I had the opportunity to bring Israeli Soldiers Stories to our campus,” said ’Noles for Israel I.S.S. event coordinator, Michelle Faidengold. “I think it’s important to see how unthinkable it is for an 18-year-old American to have to serve in the army.”

Because Yishai and Sharon had different duties while serving, audience members have the opportunity to hear two different experiences of serving.

Yishai, a 25-year-old Israeli soldier, fought in the middle of battle as a combat soldier on a Special Forces unit in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). During his duties in IDF, Yishai served on an anti-terror Special Forces unit.

“Operation Cast Lead was an operation by the Israeli Defense Forces to stop rocket fire into Israel and prevent weapons smuggling into the Gaza Strip,” said Faidengold. “Operation Cast Lead took place in December of 2008. Yishai will be talking about his experience in the army and throughout Operation Cast Lead, and will be discussing what he did during those five years of his service.”

Furthering his service, Yishai became a Lead Officer for the Counter-Terrorism Academy of the Israeli Defense Forces, which is an extensive, high performance combat squad.

After leaving the service, honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant, Yishai initiated an organization for underprivileged children of Ethiopia. His organization helps the less-fortunate Ethiopian children to prepare for their future service in the army.

Yishai currently is a law student, and attends school at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Similarly, Sharon currently studies law, and has been for two years. As a part of the Israeli Defense Forces, Sharon served on the Arrow Missile Unit as an Interception Officer, where she dealt with anti-ballistic missiles to ward off attacks. Sharon is a 2012 graduate of the StandWithUs Israel Fellowship at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Along with studying law, Sharon is also a current active member in reserve duty.

The audience will get a clearer understanding of the realms of duty within war for two different soldiers.

“The Israeli Defense Forces has many different units, and each unit has its way of life, challenges, and goals,” said Faidengold. “Though some units are more crucial to specific situations, being in the army is a puzzle, everyone has their part and everyone feels a sense of duty, even if it’s the army and it’s not always enjoyable. It’s more than protecting a country for Israelis; it’s protecting your country, which is always being attacked and at the center of conflict.”

Nevertheless, the audience will hear the emotional impact that serving has on both these soldiers. Listeners have the ability to view different sides, from different genders, and hear the personal stories of what life is like fighting and serving.

“The audience can expect to be intrigued by these soldiers’ stories, and how much they have in common. Sharon and Yishai’s lives don’t revolve around conflict like one could misconceive,” said Faidengold. “They are 25-year olds that were in the army protecting their country, like every other Israeli citizen and are sharing their life-changing experiences with us, so that we can more clearly understand what is really going on in the Middle East.”

Read article here
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