“I want you to know that the people of Israel admire you and are proud of you for having chosen to serve in the IDF and fight to defend our home,” the prime minister’s wife stated.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara attended the annual event for Garin Tzabar in honor of approximately 300 new immigrants who will enlist in the IDF as lone soldiers – those who have no immediate family in the country – in the framework of Garin Tzabar Scouts and the Israel Scouts Tzofim Itanu program.
Members of Garin Tzabar are children of Israelis, ages 18-23, residing overseas, who choose to return to Israel in order to serve a full period of IDF service. Among them, the Tzofim Itanu members also plan to make Israel their home. Upon arrival in Israel, the group is adopted by an Israeli community in a kibbutz or a city that becomes their home away from home throughout the duration of their army service.
The event took place Thursday evening at Tel Aviv University.
“I am pleased to come here every year. Each time, like today, I am excited to welcome with a warm embrace hundreds of new immigrants who have come here in the framework of Garin Tzabar,” Ms. Netanyahu told the assembled.
“Welcome home. Welcome to Israel, the home of every Jew in the world, the home of us all,” she stated.
“You have come here from the US, Ukraine, Britain, Russia, France, the Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Australia, Africa and other countries. You left warm homes and loving families. You left behind college and friends and you chose to immigrate to Israel in order to serve in the IDF. There is no finer example of Zionism, true Zionism.
“Every year, as I come here to welcome you, in these moving times, I tell about my familiarity with the splendid Garin Tzabar project.
Netanyahu’s son introduced parents to Garin Tzabar
“It was my son Avner who introduced me to the Garin Tzabar project in 2013 when he began his year of service in the Israel Scouts ‘Atid’ unit,” she said.
In the “Atid” unit, the prime minister’s wife told the new arrivals, “Avner met friends who came to Israel for a year-long course. Some of them, his good friends until today, came afterwards, via Garin Tzabar, to serve in the IDF. It was then that I saw Avner among you; he would always sit here. He told the prime minister and me how much he admires you, the soldiers who left everything in order to contribute to the state and come serve in the IDF.
“Thanks to Avner, and thanks to the wonderful Scouts Movement staff, we learned about this wonderful project that I am proud to serve as honorary president and to aid at every opportunity.”
“I want you to know that the people of Israel admire you and are proud of you for having chosen to serve in the IDF and fight to defend our home. We all know that if we do not guard ourselves and defend the State of Israel – nobody will do it for us, and this you are doing now. You are joining the most moral army in the world.
‘You are not alone’
“I wish you a meaningful and safe service. Whenever it is difficult and perhaps a little lonely, I ask that you remember one important thing: You are not alone, and never will be. We are all with you. We are all one family, and always will be. But you will always remember to call home to Mom and Dad.
“I love you and am proud of you. Take care of yourselves, and take care of us, but mainly, please take care of yourselves,” she concluded.
The prime minister addressed the group by video.
“Welcome home. This is your home too. Now, my wife Sara and I know about Garin Tzabar first hand. Well, second hand. That’s how we learned about it. We learned about it from our son Avner, who spent a year with the Tzofim, with the Scouts, in Bat Yam, and there he met members of Garin Tzabar. And he came home and he said, ‘You know how much I admire them. These are young soldiers, young men and women coming from all over the world, leaving their families, coming to Israel to serve in the army. What dedication. What solidarity. What commitment.’
“And I say exactly that: What dedication. What solidarity. What commitment. And I want you to know that this extends to all the people of Israel. We have endless admiration for you and we all welcome you home.”