By Kareena Dhillon
Mira Costa senior Leah Fox has kept her eye on the target by joining the Israeli Defense Force after she graduates from high school this year.
Senior Leah Fox has committed to join the fight in Israel after attending monthly seminars to train for her departure on June 27. She will serve for two years under the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) after training with the program Galeen Zabar since January.
“I’ve been to Israel before and I absolutely love it there,” Fox said. “I love it so much. I guess I just want to be a stronger person, I wanted to have friends that are in the army.”
Fox is closely bonded with others who have fought in the IDF including her grandmother. Students in southern California attend the seminars, giving Fox the chance to meet different people of all ages serving for the same cause.
“The seminars are very eye opening,” fellow soldier and senior Lee Simantov said. “They tell us of dangers and what you’re sacrificing, which in our situation is our lives. It is made clear that it won’t be easy and they give us the choice if we want to continue or not.”
Watch this video to gain more insight into training for the Israeli army, something Fox will be doing in her first few months in Israel. She will serve in the army for two years before coming back to the United States to further her education.
At their weekend long seminars in Simi Valley trainees are interviewed intensively about joining the forces since it is such a big commitment said Fox. Seminars often take place at hotels in the valley or, in rare events, places like Camp Alonim to teach youths what to expect in the coming months.
“I cannot wait to spend the next two years of my life with Leah, and the rest of our amazing group, and fight for something I care about and love, which is my country,” said Simantov.
The IDF is considered the finest fighting force in the world. It is vital to know Hebrew in the program and Fox is among few other students that are not fluent. She has been practicing Hebrew as often as she can according to Fox.
“I’m joining because I want to become a stronger person,” Fox said. “I feel like if I join I would not only be doing something meaningful for me but something meaningful for others.”
The tasks she will be performing in the army are still unknown according to Fox. She will be living on a kibbutz, a community in Israel, for the first seven to nine months. This will help determine her position.
“Based on physical and intelligence tests I will have my position assigned to me,” Fox said. “They will give me a position based on what I’m good at or what they think will be best for me.”
After she serves, Fox plans to travel a little in the following two months after finishing. Many people travel after serving their term according to Fox. She then hopes to come back to the United States to attend college.
“I want to go serve my country because I know it is the right thing to do,” Fox said. “It will definitely be unlike anything I have ever done before.”