Former model immigrates to Israel, joins IDF

A new IDF soldier who left behind a successful modeling career to join the IDF initially faced ongoing rejection due to his age. 

Most soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are called to enlist at the age of 18. On very rare occasions, the IDF accepts volunteers in their early 30s.

James Hirshfield, a 31-year-old British native who immigrated to Israel from the US, leaving behind a successful modeling career with “Hugo Boss,” is one such example.

“I decided I couldn’t live outside of Israel while there are 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds protecting and giving their lives to defend the country that – if something were to happen – me and my family would go to,” he told The Jerusalem Post in an interview.

“It was something I understood I had to leave behind – it was an experience I can learn and grow from, but it was much more important for me to come to Israel,” he explained.

Hirshfield originally faced resistance from the IDF due to his age. “I received ‘no’ after ‘no’ after ‘no,’” he told the Post.

After much persistence, Hirshfield became an IDF soldier last week and started basic training. After a year and a half of service, he plans to remain in the army and attend officers’ school.

“The last two days have been truly unreal,” he wrote on Facebook last Friday, describing “a whole new experience that words are hard to describe… Everyone is truly amazing, all of us being in the same place, away from our family and friends, you are all courageous guys and girls.”

“To all the mefakdim/dot [male and female commanders],” he continued, “even though you have to hide your smiles, you’re all brilliant, thoughtful and welcomed us with open arms. I’m excited for a new, full week with you all and want to wish you all Shabbat Shalom. Enjoy, relax, and next week will be fantastic too.”

By: World Israel News Staff