Less than a year-and-a-half ago, 23-year-old Abraham Niasoff left his family and friends in England to volunteer for Israel’s army. Today, he is a sharpshooter in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), protecting the Holy Land on Israel’s contentious Gaza border.

Though Niasoff grew up religious, he would not have called himself a Zionist.

Yet when the then 20 year old read Theodore Herzl’s book, ‘old new land’ it inspired him to become part of the miracle now known as the State of Israel.

When Herzl wrote this book Altneuland, a homeland for the Jewish people seemed an unattainable dream with little chance of someday becoming a reality.

Now, miraculously, that dream has materialized. “Reading the book opened my eyes. I was struck that from the time the idea of a Jewish state was conceived, the steps taken by so many to actualize this dream have enabled the establishment of a living, breathing country. What better way for me to take my step then to become a combat soldier in Israel’s army? Protecting the land has undoubtedly forged my deep personal connection with it and with it’s very existence,” said Niasoff.

Niasoff’s family and friends thought that he was just being idealistic when he first spoke of his intentions. “I was always idealistic,” he explained to Breaking Israel News. “When I told my parents and others that I wanted to move to Israel and join the IDF, at first, they thought it was just another one of my overly optimistic dreams. But, after several months of me talking about this, they began to see the conviction I had in the idea.”

Though Niasoff’s parents worry about his safety and wellbeing, they have come to terms with his bold decision and are extremely supportive. His father even flew to Israel from England to participate in Niasoff’s military graduation ceremony to give him support.

“It’s not easy to be a lone soldier,” explained Niasoff. “But I have made really great friends in the Israeli army who give me a lot of support and appreciate that I volunteered for the IDF. But, they don’t really understand what it’s like not to have family to go home to when on break.”

Niasoff told Breaking Israel News that he misses his mother’s delicious Shabbat chicken soup and oatmeal cookies as well as waking up to read the newspaper and share a coffee with his mum or having a late night snack with dad.

“The army cooks work hard to make the food as good as possible but there isn’t anything like home cooking,” he shared longingly. “Base is not home. Israelis come back to base with their mother’s home baked cookies and cakes. I don’t have that. I just come back with my laundry.”

To that end, Niasoff credits Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers, with doing all they can to help lone soldiers get what they need to succeed in Israel and in the army and to provide a bit of a home away from home. Yahad is the only Israeli government sanctioned organization permitted to take care of the welfare of IDF soldiers. Therefore, an impressive 100 percent of every donation goes directly to helping Israel’s soldiers.

Niasoff has benefitted from Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers as a lone soldier by receiving shopping cards and gifts before Jewish holidays. He also participated in a festive army graduation meal, supplied by Yahad. The organization even establishes laundry services on bases-a huge help for those who do not have family in the country to do their laundry.

“Everything Yahad provides gives a homey spirit,” smiled Niasoff. “It lets us know that somebody cares about our needs.”

Before Yahad, individuals would raise funds for specific battalions and projects. This caused many problems, including waste, with too many funds being used for supplies that soldiers didn’t need or already had or lack of balance, where some battalions got everything and others got nothing. With every donation now having to go through Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers, every soldier serving in the IDF are ensured that they receive all that they need to succeed in protecting Israel.

Niasoff is stationed in Kissufim, on the contentious border of the Gaza Strip. “It’s a very hard location to serve in as there is a lot going on including explosions, missiles being shot into Israel and constant missions to stop Arabs from infiltrating into the country,” he said. “We are out in the hot sun in full gear and there are always surprises. We are often woken up in the middle of the night when Arabs break through the border fence and we have to stop these terrorists from entering Israel and carrying out attacks. We never know if we’ll have to guard for 12, 18 or even 24 hours at a time. But, this satisfies my desire to partake in the existence and protection of the Holy Land.”

Niasoff points out that the Israelis he serves with would go out of their way to help him wherever and whenever he needs. “However, what Yahad provides, with the donations that they receive from around the world, is a feeling that people outside of Israel appreciate and care about Israel’s soldiers. Every soldiers needs and appreciates that care.”

To donate to Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers, please click here.

Written in cooperation with Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers.

Source: Israel in the News