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127 new US immigrants to Israel join the army

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127 IDF recruits from US
127 IDF recruits from US

From the United with Israel facebook page, posted this morning:

These 127 new immigrants from the USA are on their way to be Israeli soldiers. What a beautiful bunch of brave young men and women! Click LIKE to say ‘thank you’ to the Friends of the IDF and Nefesh b’Nefesh for making this happen!

Thanks to Sam Peleton, who sent the picture along with the note: “These are the young Jews that say F— you Philip Weiss, F— you Alissa Wise, F— you so-called Rabbis of JVP who beg Christians to boycott Jews.”

P.S. On a related note, Tablet lately ran a piece by an American serving in the IDF, Talia Lefkowitz. The piece thoroughly conflated the US and Israel, as she reflected on rocket fire from Gaza:

As I run, trying to get to safety, I flash back to my family’s apartment in Manhattan, or to the house in which I grew up in Maryland. It’s inconceivable to me that something like this could happen there. There would be shock, outrage, even international condemnation. Or maybe such a massive American response that the rocket attacks would finally stop—forever. Instead, I am sure tomorrow’s Facebook page will be filled with more criticism of Israel and more justification for the attacks.

I am a New York City girl who came to Israel to defend the Jewish state. I am proud of my service and of all the remarkable young men I have met who risk their lives every day to keep this country safe. I am the girl in the bunker..

Interestingly, Talia Lefkowitz’s father Jay Lefkowitz served in the Bush II administration as an aide to the president on several issues. Wikipedia lists among his famous quotes: “Deep down, I believe that a little anti-Semitism is a good thing for the Jews – reminds them who they are.” (New York Times Magazine. Feb.12, 1995. Page 65).

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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47 Responses

  1. Chu on August 14, 2012, 11:14 am

    Most of these kids were coddled in Jewish summer camps throughout their life and are dedicated to greater Israel, Judea and Samaria, etc.
    But they’re going to see another world, be a part of something bigger than themselves. Who better to keep the occupation alive than a cluster of Jewish American teens who can come home and explain their stories of valor to their synagogue members. Explaining what it feels like to use butt end of the rifle on an Arab. And a multitude of other mystical experiences returning to the homeland -Masada sunrise being top on the list.

    • MLE on August 14, 2012, 2:25 pm

      Growing up coddled in Jewish Summer camps and Jewish teen groups, I can pretty much say you hit the nail on the head about these kids. They introduce you to Israeli soldiers who are just so cool, as anyone in their late teens and early twenties are to 12-13 year olds. Arabs are seen as some distant them, people to feared, hated, or pitied, depending on the subject. You would think Arabs are hiding their nazi uniforms under their galabayas.

  2. dimadok on August 14, 2012, 11:49 am

    You’re slipping Phillip-“F— you so-called Rabbis of JVP who beg Christians to boycott Jews.” Is it a subconceous mistake or something else? Remember the story about Eliyah and Baal priest ?
    I guess you’ve meant to say “boycott Israel” but something else came out.
    Good luck for all those wonderful young people. The bring honor to their families and communities.

    • annie on August 14, 2012, 7:48 pm

      dim, phil was quoting someone:

      Sam Peleton, who sent the picture along with the note:

      nice try

  3. Les on August 14, 2012, 1:10 pm

    Members of Israel’s _____ Brigade woudn’t think of joining the US military so very like Corporal Jeffrey Goldberg and so very unlike Mikey Weinstein, his father, two sons and a daughter-in-law.

  4. frankier on August 14, 2012, 2:08 pm

    Wasn’t US law that a US citizen would forfeit his/her citizenship by serving in a foreign army?

    • Eva Smagacz on August 15, 2012, 1:05 pm

      Yes, this was to protect United States from having disloyal citizens voting.

      Law (like immigration law, which was relaxed) was changed to accommodate needs and wishes of Jewish-Americans.

      • Citizen on August 15, 2012, 6:39 pm

        @ frankier, Yes, it was once so.
        If memory serves, the question of an American citizen giving up his US citizenship under the old law was last used by SCOTUS to hold that a Latino-American had done so, but that court subsequently overruled the old complex litmus test and replaced it mainly with a much purer (and much vaguer) issue of intent, with only a few rules of automatic intent by virtue of a few selected actions; the net result is generally, unless you declare in some official way that you are giving up your US citizenship, you don’t give it up, which benefited the Jewish American who was the individual party in the case.

      • Citizen on August 16, 2012, 9:49 am

        It seems an American cannot lose his or her American citizenship by serving in the IDF as, although current US law does not allow an American to serve in the IDF as an officer, either commissioned or as an NCO, even this bar is conditional upon said American clearly showing he or she intends or intended to give up US citizenship by serving in the IDf as an officer:

        Section 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, states that U.S. citizens are subject to loss of citizenship if they perform certain acts voluntarily and with the intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship. Briefly stated, these acts include:

        (1) obtaining naturalization in a foreign state (Sec. 349 (a) (1) INA);

        (2) taking an oath, affirmation or other formal declaration to a foreign state or its political subdivisions (Sec. 349 (a) (2) INA);

        (3) entering or serving in the armed forces of a foreign state engaged in hostilities against the U.S. or serving as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer in the armed forces of a foreign state (Sec. 349 (a) (3) INA);

        (4) accepting employment with a foreign government if (a) one has the nationality of that foreign state or (b) a declaration of allegiance is required in accepting the position (Sec. 349 (a) (4) INA);

        (5) formally renouncing U.S. citizenship before a U.S. consular officer outside the United States (sec. 349 (a) (5) INA);

        (6) formally renouncing U.S. citizenship within the U.S. (but only “in time of war”) (Sec. 349 (a) (6) INA);

        (7) conviction for an act of treason (Sec. 349 (a) (7) INA).

  5. ColinWright on August 14, 2012, 2:56 pm

    “…I am a New York City girl who came to Israel to defend the Jewish state. I am proud of my service and of all the remarkable young men I have met who risk their lives every day to keep this country safe. I am the girl in the bunker…”

    Plus, it’s not actually particularly dangerous, and you are never too far from flush toilets and air conditioning and all the amenities of civilization.

    I can see it. Feel like a hero without actually having to go through all that much.

    • OlegR on August 15, 2012, 11:09 am

      /lus, it’s not actually particularly dangerous/
      Try it …

      • ColinWright on August 15, 2012, 3:36 pm

        “…/lus, it’s not actually particularly dangerous/
        Try it …”

        How many Americans have served in the IDF, and how many have been killed?

        Offhand, I imagine it would be somewhat more dangerous to get a job as a cab driver or a tree surgeon.

      • ColinWright on August 15, 2012, 4:16 pm

        “…How many Americans have served in the IDF, and how many have been killed?…”

        I’m starting to seriously wonder about this. I distinctly recall Kirk Douglas getting killed in 1948 in ‘Cast a Giant Shadow’ — but surely some have died since?

        After all, several thousand must have served. But when I try a search, all I get are Americans killed by the IDF, not killed while in it.

      • marc b. on August 15, 2012, 7:14 pm

        Try it …

        actually there are plenty commenters here who have served in the military, olerg. so maybe you should try out your ‘tough guy of few words’ act elsewhere. you’re likely to get a more receptive, awe struck audience in the tom friedman comments section for example.

  6. chinese box on August 14, 2012, 3:26 pm

    Talia Lefkowitz has been thoroughly brainwashed.

  7. Carowhat on August 14, 2012, 3:39 pm

    Nice looking kids. I only wish as native Americans they would have wanted to join the US Marine Corps before a foreign army.

  8. yourstruly on August 14, 2012, 4:42 pm

    threaten to take away the safety valve of a U.S. passport/citizenship and see most of these israel firster warriors scurrying home.

  9. American on August 14, 2012, 5:02 pm

    Let’s make lemonade out of these lemons.
    I think it’s great.
    Fewer zios roaming around in the US…..heheheheh
    And there’s always the chance they might learn something.

    • ColinWright on August 15, 2012, 3:45 pm

      “Let’s make lemonade out of these lemons.
      I think it’s great.
      Fewer zios roaming around in the US…..heheheheh
      And there’s always the chance they might learn something.”

      That’s a pleasant thought, but (a) they’ll come back, and (b) while some may be horrified at what they see, most of them will have ‘learned’ that here is an attitude that demands a lot less of them morally and that legitimizes many of the worst tendencies in us all.

      They will then preach it. This doesn’t have an up side. One has to understand: Naziism does have an appeal. It’s sheer foolishness to think otherwise, to assume that if you let people be little stormtroopers and tell them that what they’re doing is good, that they won’t lap it up.

      In a way, ‘progressives’ set themselves up to fall for this. They convince themselves that they themselves are free from such failings — that at heart everyone is.

      That’s not so — and to think that this can go on without harm, that people will just naturally realize how vile what they’re doing is, is at a minimum a serious gamble.

      People will like it. Witness Israel. It doesn’t draw back in horror — on the contrary, every year it wallows in it with still more evident relish.

  10. Citizen on August 14, 2012, 6:47 pm

    This article, Warriors and Wusses, by Joel Stein addresses why he does not support the US troops (and, apparently, why he never volunteered himself):,0,2968154.story

    It would be interesting, if he knows how the IDF has basically been used as a police force “in the bad parts of town” for quite awhile, what Joel would say to the newly minted American IDF volunteers in the photo.

  11. Citizen on August 14, 2012, 7:12 pm

    127 in this new batch of Jewish Americans who joined the IDF to risk life and limb for Israel, or at least check Palestinian IDs at a crossing? Or throw some Palestinian kid in a Jewish armed and armored paddy wagon for tossing a stone? As of July of 2011, according to the president of the National Museum of American Jewish Military History, 44 Jewish American servicemen and women have died in the wars in Iraq in Afghanistan.

  12. on August 14, 2012, 11:01 pm

    I remember reading an article a few years back of a

    jewish american air force pilot asking why there were not more jews in the US military….at the time I believe he said there were 2000,,.
    because the US had been so good to/for jews…why didnt they serve back

    and I also remember reading from a site that listed US solider deaths in vietnam..,

    most groups were represented by the same percent as was their popolation in the country was

    catholics 25%
    protestants 25%
    ect ect

    then we get down jews kia
    pop 2.5%.. kia .04%

    kinda makes one wonder

    • MLE on August 15, 2012, 11:00 am

      My dad got deferments for completing his PhD, maybe thats how a lot of others got out too.

      Most people I know in the army are serving so they can get money for college or the army is offering to pay off their debts.

      These kids should be sent back home to the US and shipped out to Afghanistan where they can be a tester for roadside bombs.

      • Citizen on August 15, 2012, 6:47 pm

        @ If memory serves, both Mitt and Beiden got four deferments each and I recall Chaney saying he “had better things to do.” The US hawk congress has less and less military veterans in its ranks every year.

  13. Blake on August 15, 2012, 12:36 am

    According to figures published in both Haaretz and JTA earlier this year it is estimated that over 2 million Jewish “Israelis” are permanent residents of the United States.

  14. Henry Norr on August 15, 2012, 12:38 am

    Jodi Rudoren has a long piece about this in Thursday’s NY Times, with a very detailed description of their arrival at Ben Gurion Airport.

    My favorite part is a quote from Netanyahu’s speech of greeting to them: “You’ve decided to defend the Jewish future,” he told them. “In previous times, for almost two million years, the Jews could not defend themselves.”

    Who knew there were Jews two million years ago? I can see it now: “Judeopithecus” fleeing from the constant attacks of Australopithecus bands. You may have read that hominids lived only in east Africa in those days, but thanks to Netanyahu, we now know that’s wrong: since Jerusalem is the “eternal” capital of the Jews, they had to be there already, no doubt praying on the Temple Mount….

  15. wes on August 15, 2012, 2:34 am

    Great news

  16. Krauss on August 15, 2012, 3:04 am

    I guess there’s quite a few youngsters left in America who agree with Adelson when he lamented that he had served in the U.S. army instead of the IDF.

    At least they’re being consistent and packing their bags.
    They’re (potentially) putting their bodies in harm’s way for what they believe, even if that is Jewish Apartheid.

    Can’t say the same for the pseudo-liberal Zionists who sit in their comfortable homes and argue for more American blood to be spilled in the Middle East in yet another war that Israel craves(this time Iran).

  17. demize on August 15, 2012, 4:47 am

    A reason for a pacifist to pray for war..

  18. American on August 15, 2012, 5:10 am

    I’ve been thinking about this, trying to settle exactly how I think and feel about it. Part of my thinking about it is how natural this group seems to think it is for them to go serve in the IDF instead of the US military, how it’s grown more and more natural. Also how it is presented in the press like the NYT as something perfectly normal for US Jews and a very laudable patriotic thing for them to do– for Israel. There have only been a couple of thousand who have done this but I wonder about the Jewish families or communities that raised these kids with this sense of duty to Israel but not to America…are they AIPAC families?
    I also think, how many will come back as good zionist agents for Israel and spawn another generation of US zionist and AIPAC lobbist for Israel in the US? We know recruiting US Jews to Israel is part of the Israeli tactics to indoctrinate them further for their beachhead in the US.

    I also think about these Jewish kids going to serve the IDF with American kids still dying and being maimed in Afghan that aren’t even mentioned in the US press….no one covers the still being killed except the site that keeps a daily tally of the deaths. The NYT would never feature a group of Americans joining the US military or even mentioned a dead one’s name these days.
    And I also compare them to the high percentage of Hispanics immigrants that enlist in our military and go to our wars to try and get US citizenship. We’ve had illegal Mexicans enlist and serve in combat rather than go back and rot in mexico. The US deported the wife of one Mexican illegal solider ‘after’ he was killed in Iraq. The US showed as much gratitude for his sacrifice as the zionist show us.

    I think if Israel wasn’t what it is and the Zionist weren’t what they are in the US , using America in every possible way without regard for other Americans welfare or interest or even our national interest, then this might not even be noteworthy to me. Would be no more than some young full of themselves Americans hiddie hoeing away to fight for some cause in Spain because there was no US adventure war for them to join.

    But Israel and the Zionist are what they are and do what they do in the US so that makes what US Jews do in regard to Israel vr. the US different.

    So how do I ‘feel’ emotionally about these US Jewish kids. ‘If’ they weren’t mostly stupid naive kids I would tell them to stay in their Israel homeland and not come back to my homeland, ever. ..that they don’t deserve to live on the same piece of land as other young Americans and even illegal immigrant soliders, particulary the illegal immigrant soliders, who right or wrong, risked their lives in US wars.

    Enlisting From Afar for the Love of Israel

    Relatives welcomed scores of would-be soldiers arriving from the United States on Tuesday at Ben-Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv.

    LOD, Israel — Three days into Josh Warhit’s first-ever visit to Israel, as a 16-year-old on a summer tour, war broke out in Lebanon, which transformed the group’s itinerary — and his life plan. On Tuesday, with talk rampant about the possibility of an imminent Israeli attack on Iran, Mr. Warhit became a citizen of Israel to enlist in its army.

    “Our parents were freaking out,” Mr. Warhit, now 22, recalled of that first trip during the war against Hezbollah. “It only made us more thirsty. I love the Jewish people. Love involves commitment. Right now we need people to commit.
    “Of course it’s scary,” he added, regarding Iran, “but if you feel a commitment, that’s the thing to do.”
    Mr. Warhit, who grew up in New Rochelle, N.Y., and graduated from the University of Rochester after spending several summers in Israel, was one of 127 soldiers-to-be who landed Tuesday morning at Ben-Gurion International Airport here. They arrived after a week of intense media speculation that an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities was increasingly likely, though the premier enemy of the moment was not mentioned by name during a hero’s welcome that included a live band, balloon hats and a speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    Part of a growing cadre of what are known as lone soldiers, they left behind parents, girlfriends, cars and stuffed animals to become infantrymen, intelligence officers, paratroopers and pilots in a formerly foreign land. All told, according to a military spokeswoman, Israel has enlisted 8,217 men and women from other countries since 2009, 1,661 of them from the United States, second only to Russia’s 1,685.
    They receive a host of special benefits: three times the typical soldier’s salary, a personal day off each month, a free flight home and vouchers for holiday meals. But with few exceptions for dual citizens from certain countries, they serve side by side in even elite combat units with native Israelis drafted out of high school.
    “Their motivation is often way higher than the average Israeli,” said Col. Shuli Ayal, who oversees the lone-soldier program. “They want to make their service as meaningful as possible.”
    Mr. Warhit, for one, aspires to the Givati Brigade, a ground-forces unit formed before Israel became a state in 1948 that in the past decade has been active around the Gaza Strip. Elona Brage, 22, the daughter of doctors from San Francisco, hopes to be a medic — “anything but combat,” she said. And Daniel Rechenbach of Ridgewood, N.J., a graduate of Clark University whose sisters moved to Israel ahead of him, wants to join Oketz, the canine unit.

    read the whole article

    • Woody Tanaka on August 15, 2012, 9:01 am

      I think that any American who serves in the i”d”f should be stripped of his American citizenship and barred from re-entry and accessed a 100% asset tax, (with a lifetime claw-back for any “gifts” made to anyone else.)

      Of course, I’m not a bought-and-paid-for politician in the service of AIPAC and a foreign state…

    • CloakAndDagger on August 15, 2012, 10:28 am

      When a friend of mine immigrated to the US, he had to sign something that disavowed allegiance to all foreign princes and potentates.

      The whole concept of dual citizenship has always irked me. You are either swearing allegiance to this country or to some other one. No matter how close two countries may be as friends (e.g. US and Canada), there will always come a time when the “interests” of one country are in conflict with the interests of another, be it spotted owls and lumber rights, or war with some other country that is no threat to us.

      If you feel so strongly for some country that you are willing to do die fighting for it, then that is the country you should be a citizen of, ‘specially if you are not willing to do the same for the US.

      Don’t come back.

      • Kate on August 15, 2012, 1:05 pm

        Exactly, Cloak. They should have to choose which country they have allegiance to. That goes for everyone. And as for people being able to VOTE in two different countries…. leaves me speechless.

      • ColinWright on August 16, 2012, 1:34 am

        “…The whole concept of dual citizenship has always irked me. You are either swearing allegiance to this country or to some other one…”

        Yeah. There was a Joan Didion essay a long time ago about the Mexican gardener at some nursery in Southern California who was an expert on orchids.

        Although he’d been in the United States for thirty years or something, he’d never become a citizen. Every time he thought about it, he had this image of the judge ordering him to stamp on the Mexican flag. He just couldn’t do it.

        One can of course argue against the validity of the concept of nationality at all. Then too, it may prove useful to acquire a second citizenship for prosaic reasons — but ultimately, one is a citizen of one country.

      • American on August 16, 2012, 3:52 am

        I love those no nationality people…..I can see them all now waiting in line at the UN World Body for years to get help with some grievance or problem. LOL

        It’s not really dual citizenship that is so much the problem it is when dual loyalities come in. You can’t serve two masters, well maybe if they were cojoined twins you could, which is how some want to see the US and Israel and have convinced themselves it is. But it’s a delusion.
        I had this long running conversation with a US Israeli, decent enough guy, I asked him what he would do if US and Israel interest ever went their seperate ways and he swore that would never happen. I wonder what he thinks now.

  19. Sheldonrichman on August 15, 2012, 8:52 am

    I know someone in that picture and I am sad.

  20. Les on August 15, 2012, 10:43 am

    Compare the many American Jews who went to Spain as members of the Lincoln Brigade to kill fascists with these who choose to join Israel’s military in order to kill Palestinian Arabs be they in Israel itself or East Jerusalem, the West Bank or Gaza, be they Muslims or Palestinians. Is it a good thing that these racists don’t join the US military?

  21. eljay on August 15, 2012, 12:17 pm

    >> As I run, trying to get to safety, I flash back to my family’s apartment in Manhattan, or to the house in which I grew up in Maryland. It’s inconceivable to me that something like this could happen there. There would be shock, outrage, even international condemnation.

    From this paragraph, one would think she was describing what it feels like to be a Palestinian victim of an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” born of terrorism and ethnic cleansing and engaged in a 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder.

    Instead, this hateful and imoral Zio-supremacist is merely expressing her feelings of aggressor-victimhood as she undertakes the dirty work of her supremacist “Jewish State”.

    If she were the rapist’s accomplice, she would be offended not by the rapist’s on-going and violent sexual and physical assaults, but by the victim’s slaps and punches.

    It’s both very sad and thoroughly disgusting.

    • Les on August 15, 2012, 2:52 pm

      Is this what Freud called projection?

    • Citizen on August 15, 2012, 7:05 pm

      @ eljay
      She joined the IDF, she says, because she thought of her family in NY or Maryland being attacked. So why didn’t she join the US Army in NY or Maryland–it has recruiting stations in both places. Is the implication of her logic that no country really is important except her family’s country, which is Israel? Guess she doesn’t think much about any non-family members she grew up with in the USA.

      In the Joel Stein article I reference above on this thread, he says he does not support our troops because in the end they have ultimate choice themselves, and if they choose to serve US imperialism, what’s to respect, honor, or support? So he never volunteered for the US military. I can understand his position, but I wonder what he thinks these young American Jews think they are supporting by joining the IDF.

      Most of US cannon fodder come from lower-middle class and/or rural backgrounds, and there’s no jobs available in their locals even though they have HS diplomas. In comparison, it seems more than a few of these IDF volunteers come from more affluent families, families that have benefited a lot from being born and bred in America.

  22. andrewpollack on August 15, 2012, 12:47 pm

    See today’s Times coverage, which mentions that these colonialist wannabe murderers will get paid three times the standard salary of an IOF soldier. So for all the talk about “love for the Jews,” these are really just mercenaries.
    All paid for by our taxes, of course.

  23. Eva Smagacz on August 15, 2012, 1:38 pm

    I wonder how normal is it for Russian-Americans to pop over for few years to serve in Russian Army, or for Cuban-Americans to do the same. What about Egyptian-Americans, or for Wenezuelan-Americans? How does it go down in the local community?
    You go home and say to the neighbour: “hi Fred, long time no see. You can call me polkovnik Kalugin from now on. Can I borrow the lawnmower? How is work?”

  24. DICKERSON3870 on August 15, 2012, 2:13 pm

    RE: “These are the young Jews that say F— you Philip Weiss, F— you Alissa Wise” ~ Sam Peleton

    MY SNARK: Stay classy, Mr. Peleton! Über-obnoxious Zionists like yourself are a gift from heaven.

    SEE: “Geller’s ‘savage’ bus ad meets strong resistance from the Bay Area”, by Annie Robbins on August 15, 2012
    LINK –

    • DICKERSON3870 on August 15, 2012, 3:11 pm


      A CUTE FILM FROM ITALY: Mid-August Lunch (Pranzo di Ferragosto; The Ferragosto Dinner), 2008, NR, 75 minutes
      As the Italian holiday of Pranzo di Ferragosto approaches, cash-strapped Gianni (Gianni Di Gregorio) gets help from his landlord, his friend and his doctor, who offer financial relief in exchange for Gianni looking after their elderly relatives over the holiday. Four mismatched Italian mamas at the same table make for an awkward, hilarious and touching mid-August lunch in this film festival favorite from Di Gregorio, who also writes and directs.
      Director: Gianni Di Gregorio
      Language: Italian (English subtitles)
      Format: DVD and streaming
      • Netflix listing –
      • Internet Movie Database –
      Mid August Lunch Official Trailer –
      • Cinemonde Soiree #9: “Mid-August Lunch” [VIDEO, 04:47] –

  25. marc b. on August 15, 2012, 2:27 pm

    Stay classy, Mr. Peleton!

    u gotta be classy to stay classy. and is it peleton or peloton. i’m guessing the latter, of the dense latex variety. ‘five sessions a week, and not a dent.’ *taps head*

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