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  #1  
Old 06-25-2010, 11:05 PM
HideNSeek HideNSeek is offline
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Default 29 year old biophysicist in IDF

Lone Soldiers: A scientist and a gentleman

Elia Victorov is not your ordinary infantry soldier. First, he is 29 and busy running up hills and carrying stretchers on long hikes with a bunch of 18-year-olds. Secondly, he has a doctorate in biophysics.

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, to a father who is a professor of astrophysics and a mother who has an advanced degree in chemistry, it was only natural that he decided to pursue a career in the world of science. His sister did the same and has a doctorate in chemistry.


But everything changed for Victorov in November 2008, when he arrived here for the first time not as a tourist but as a new immigrant. He came with his 93-year-old grandfather, a former soldier in the Red Army who fought in the armored division that conquered Berlin in World War II.

When asked why he decided to move here, Victorov does not provide an ordinary answer. He didn’t know Hebrew; he was not raised in a particularly Zionist or religious home and had never even visited. But, he says, his love for the state was embedded within him from just being Jewish.

“There are two different ways how to become a Zionist,” he says in his heavily-accented but confidently-spoken Hebrew. “One way is by talking about Israel all the time, learning about Israel and visiting Israel. The other way, which is how I became a Zionist, is by just being Jewish, knowing other Jews and being around them.”

His desire to come started as a child when he remembers hearing and watching about the Jewish state and its security problems on the radio and on television. He always dreamed of moving and read up, when he could get his hands on appropriate books, on the country’s history. He was particularly drawn in by the story of Golda Meir, the only female prime minister.

“I saw something special in the fact that a woman can be a prime minister,” he says. “She was a strong woman and I had a lot of respect for her.”

While he encountered a degree of anti-Semitism in school, Victorov says that he didn’t move here to run away from life in St. Petersburg. His parents were also not thrilled with his decision to move and serve in the army, but they ultimately gave him their support.

“There are still a lot of Jews there,” he says. “Life was good. I had a job and my family. There was nothing to run away from.”

Arriving in November, 2008, the Absorption Ministry sent Victorov to ulpan to study Hebrew, but after several months of not hearing from the IDF he decided to go down to the Jerusalem Induction Center to find out why he wasn’t getting call-up orders.

“They told me I didn’t have to do military service since I was already 27 years old,” he recalls. “I told them that I didn’t care and that I wanted to serve in the army since I believe that it is important for me to do and for the country.”

Aware that he could probably use his advanced biophysics degree to get a desk job as a scientist in the IDF, he wanted to serve as a combat soldier like his grandfather. He first tried out for the elite undercover Duvdevan unit which carries out complicated arrest operations in Palestinian towns and villages, but did not pass. He then told the army that he wanted to serve in the Kfir Brigade, responsible for most military operations in the West Bank.

“I asked for a combat unit since I wanted to feel the country more and to contribute more. To give more and get more,” he explains.

He laughs when telling how some of the soldiers in his unit make fun of his age, but notes that all of them show him respect and understand that he is someone who did not have to serve but decided to anyhow.

“There are some people who laugh with me that what I am doing is crazy, but they respect me and my decision,” he says. “I get a little more respect but I am treated like every other soldier without any discounts. I do everything that the other soldiers do and sometimes, if I can, even a little more.”

http://www.jpost.com/CafeOleh/CafeTa...aspx?id=179397

Apparently, if you ask hard enough you can serve, even at an advanced age (for IDF) and basic Hebrew. Not sure how common this is, but hey, there you go.
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Old 06-27-2010, 02:32 AM
krychek krychek is offline
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I'm 28 and I'm immigrating next month, I was under the impression that the IDF wouldn't accept people of my age as they feel it'd be difficult to take commands from a nineteen-year-old. Very inspiring story!
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Old 06-27-2010, 03:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krychek View Post
I'm 28 and I'm immigrating next month, I was under the impression that the IDF wouldn't accept people of my age as they feel it'd be difficult to take commands from a nineteen-year-old. Very inspiring story!
There is a large percentage of the military that routinely takes orders from those younger than them. We command by rank, not age nor seniority. The entire Officer Reserves (to age 45) attends courses run by 19 and 20 year old corporals and seargents annually.

The story is an unusual one, that is for certain. We have published here many times the chart supplied by the IDF that shows amount of service time for those above the age of 21.

Keep us informed if this is a new policy, or a news worthy exception.
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:18 AM
HideNSeek HideNSeek is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rafi View Post
There is a large percentage of the military that routinely takes orders from those younger than them. We command by rank, not age nor seniority. The entire Officer Reserves (to age 45) attends courses run by 19 and 20 year old corporals and seargents annually.

The story is an unusual one, that is for certain. We have published here many times the chart supplied by the IDF that shows amount of service time for those above the age of 21.

Keep us informed if this is a new policy, or a news worthy exception.
I could be wrong, but it seems that these days the IDF will take those who show enough initiative, motivation (maybe it's just me hoping). Notice, he actually went down there and asked, otherwise nothing would happen. Not sure what the absolute limit would be, he was 27 at the time. The thing that surprises me the most is the the Hebrew aspect. I gather if he is "heavily accented" now, 2 years later, I can only imagine what his Hebrew was like a few months in. I have nothing but admiration for him of course, just surprised.
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Old 06-27-2010, 10:15 AM
tzvi.mejer tzvi.mejer is offline
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In the IDF, as a citizen you have the right to serve and defend your country, if for any reason (age,disabilities,family or social problems,etc) you may be exempt from the mandatory service,you have the right to volunteer for service, and your case will be dealt with on a case by case manner.
In many cases, people who have served and after a number of years of reserve duties were given a full discharge, do sign papers volunteering for continuance of service in the reserves, i have done it and served until the age of 55, when because of my work i could not continue ( overseas work).
It is my personal belief, that it is a right as an Israeli, to serve my country, to defend it against any treats and to protect the citizens of it, it is not a government mandated obligation to do so, but it is a moral obligation in a personal basis.
So even when you are excepted, for any reason, it is your moral obligation to continue doing your part as an Israeli and as a member of our community, the IDF will try to accommodate your wish if is possible.
In regards of people from other countries and with out Jewish ancestry,it is much more difficult to accommodate, some segments may consider that in accepting the good will of non Israelis and giving them the opportunity to join the IDF, it could be seen as if Israel is accepting mercenaries which if I'm not incorrect will brake a few rules of international laws, and in certain cases will be considered as criminal by the Geneva convention, I'm not an expert on the matter, it is not view as a good thing by the international community in any case.
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:06 AM
sanday_f sanday_f is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tzvi.mejer View Post
In the IDF, as a citizen you have the right to serve and defend your country, if for any reason (age,disabilities,family or social problems,etc) you may be exempt from the mandatory service,you have the right to volunteer for service, and your case will be dealt with on a case by case manner.
In many cases, people who have served and after a number of years of reserve duties were given a full discharge, do sign papers volunteering for continuance of service in the reserves, i have done it and served until the age of 55, when because of my work i could not continue ( overseas work).
It is my personal belief, that it is a right as an Israeli, to serve my country, to defend it against any treats and to protect the citizens of it, it is not a government mandated obligation to do so, but it is a moral obligation in a personal basis.
So even when you are excepted, for any reason, it is your moral obligation to continue doing your part as an Israeli and as a member of our community, the IDF will try to accommodate your wish if is possible.
In regards of people from other countries and with out Jewish ancestry,it is much more difficult to accommodate, some segments may consider that in accepting the good will of non Israelis and giving them the opportunity to join the IDF, it could be seen as if Israel is accepting mercenaries which if I'm not incorrect will brake a few rules of international laws, and in certain cases will be considered as criminal by the Geneva convention, I'm not an expert on the matter, it is not view as a good thing by the international community in any case.
Im from fiji in the south pacific. there alot of fijians serving in the British Army and many have died. 3 juz last month.nothing has been said about the british guilty according to geneva convention for braking international laws or hiring mercenaries.

I dream many times of joining the Israel military forces , its in my heart like a flame that can't go out.

Maybe this dream can come true?
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Old 07-14-2010, 05:24 AM
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Brits had a lot of colonies. As far as you go, the only thing I see possible is
Sar-El (http://www.sar-el.org/). It's not glamorous, but if people really want to help (who can't join the IDF), it's a good way.
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:48 PM
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Hi Tzvi,

Welcome to the board. You wrote escellently about your experiences.

I am sorry to hear that you felt the time had arrivedto stop doing miluim, based on work commitments. I too am 55 years old, and completed a recent stint in miluim with the Kav Hatefer Yechida. If you might be interested in serving with us, let me know. There is usually about one gius a month.

As you know, there are always exceptions in the IDF, but I believe that they are so rare, to put out on a public forum that a 42 year old Christian High school drop out with a general discharge from the US Army could get into the IDF with perseverance is just not true. Now it was refreshing to have you reinforce what I have stated before, and you said it very well. But I assure you, right now in Tennessee there is a good old boy having the morning paper read to him who is thinking - Walla! I have a shot! (OK, so maybe he didn't say walla!) I can get in just that Rooskie.

Anyway, drop me a PM if you might be interested in joining our unit. There would be little to no problem getting you in, if medically you checked out and you have some kravi experience.

Rafi
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