י״א באייר ה׳תשע״ו (May 19, 2016) Feeling like an Israeli on Yom Hazikaron

unnamed (1)Mandatory service in the Israel Defense Forces is a very strange concept to a modern American teen. The idea that everyone — regardless of interests, athleticism, and gender — enters into the army after graduating high school is something hard to grasp. The notion of deferring higher education until after military service is quite foreign to those of us who have grown up in an extremely college-focused society.

Before coming on TRY, I always imagined the army to be an annoyance, a reason I was glad to grow up an Israel-loving American and not an Israeli. However, now that I have been in Israel for Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut, the IDF no longer seems like forced service, but rather like an integral part of being Israeli — something sad but also something spurring hope.

Yom Hazikaron is a day of remembrance. It is a mournful day. On Yom Hazikaron, Israelis must look around at this beautiful country and remember that it stands only because of the sacrifice made by her people. Everyone goes into the IDF. Everyone must defend their country, but not everyone is fortunate enough to see this country flourish afterwards.

Despite the mournful air of remembrance on Yom Hazikaron, it was on this day that I was most proud of living in Israel during my TRY experience. I felt sorrow, but also strength and patriotism. It was a reminder of why we need to fight for this country. I am not an Israeli, but on Yom Hazikaron I came to better understand what it is like to be one.

HANNAH Y. KRESSEL, 17, GREW UP IN WAYNE, NJ AND WILL BE ATTENDING BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY IN THE FALL. IN HER (MINIMAL) FREE TIME, SHE ENJOYS READING ANYTHING SHE CAN GET HER HANDS ON, PLANNING IMAGINARY VACATIONS AND DRAWING.

 

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