BENEFITING: FRIENDS OF YASHAR L CHAYAL INC
In honor of Israel's 66th anniversary of statehood we are raising funds for Jonathan 's unit: the Ayalon Company, the 101st battalion of the paratroopers brigade.
All donations will go to Yashar LaChayal (https://www.yasharlachayal.org/)- a non-profit 501(c)(3), who will work directly with the battalion to purchase gear that they need (e.g., head flashlights, durable backpacks, warm neck guards etc.).
Soldiers in the IDF rely heavily upon the generous donations of communities like ours, and others across the globe, in order to be properly and sufficiently equipped for their service.
No donation is too small. Thank you for your generosity, and happy Yom Ha'Atzmaut!
If you'd like to read more about Jonathan's experience as a paratrooper, see the interview below!
Watch Jonathan and his fellow troops on their first paratrooping jump!
Hi! Happy Yom Haatzmaut! My name is Jonathan Deluty, and I serve as a paratrooper in the IDF.
As an American in the Israeli Army, I get a lot of questions from fellow Americans about my service. So, I've decided to put together a list of the most frequently asked questions I am asked by Americans.
So what do you do?
I serve as a combat soldier in the Tzanchanim (paratroopers) brigade. I'm in the 101st airborne battalion (named after the famous American battalion from WWII). I volunteered for the army through a track called "Machal" which is a Hebrew acronym for "foreign volunteers." This means that although I am not a citizen of Israel, I can still, as a Jew, serve in the Israeli army as a full-fledged soldier.
Are you in a special group just for Americans?
No! I'm a corporal in the Paratroopers and my unit is all Israeli. I am officially not allowed to speak English in the army, although I cheat all the time. If there's a war and my unit is called up, I go too! Americans are treated exactly the same. The only difference is that as a "lone soldier", which means my parents do not live in Israel, I get some money each month for rent and groceries.
Where are you stationed?
My training was on a base about 45 minutes north of Beersheba. After that, I was deployed to the Lebanon border by a small moshav called Yiftach. Our job was to patrol the border and lay ambushes to prevent Hizbullah infiltration into the country as well as to provide security for the Israeli residents in the area. Though these have been my main assignments so far, I also was sent with a few other guys from my platoon to guard Mearat Hamachpela on Mohammad's birthday, a holiday for Muslims during which they are granted unfettered access to all parts of the cave. Each of these places has been eye-opening in its own way. Whether it's the physical exertion required by combat soldiers in training, the appreciation for the tiny distance between Israel and our enemies, or the living situation of Palestinians in Hebron and the surrounding villages, I have been privileged to see many different parts of Israel.
What kind of weapon do u carry?
Most people in a combat unit have a special job that they contribute to the group. While paratroopers carry an M4, I also have another gun as part of my job. It's an Israeli fully automatic light machine gun called the Negev. This is the gun I used during operations, but when I go home, I take my M4 with me.
Are you able to maintain religious observance in the army?
Absolutely! The army makes room for anyone who wants to be religious. While it does require some sacrifice (praying as opposed to relaxing), I have no doubt my religious identity and practice have only been strengthened by my experiences.
Wait, "paratrooper", you don't actually jump out of planes...?
We do! All paratroopers go through a rigorous course to learn how to jump at night, with all of our equipment. It is both the most fun and the most terrifying thing I have ever done.
Why did you volunteer to go to the army?
That Israel has a strong army is one of the important reasons that Jews across the world (not just in Israel) can feel safe and proud of their identity. It never seemed fair to me, though, that one Jew born in the Middle East has to be willing to sacrifice while another Jew born in North America can simply reap the benefits and not make sacrifices himself. So although I had no legal obligation, I felt and still feel a moral obligation to sacrifice for the protection of Jews worldwide.
How can I found out more about volunteering for the IDF?
There are many organizations in Israel that help Americans enlist in the Israeli army and deal with the bureaucracy of it all. I was helped by a program called Garin Mahal (garinmahal.com). But the best way to get reliable information is to check with people you know about the army, and to check out as many sources of information as possible. I am always available for anyone who wants to talk about army service, whether it would be a good fit, or any information. My email address firstname.lastname@example.org
What can an American who is not serving in the army do to help?
Stay involved! Send letters, packages, donations, and anything else to strengthen the army! The diaspora Jewish community is a critical resource for the IDF. There simply is not enough equipment or for the soldiers without outside help. All the luxuries we have (fleece jackets, gloves, hats, socks, bags, camelbacks) come from outside donations. And the letters we get from across the world mean so much! I used to write those letters in school, and even though I may have done it lazily or not thinking it mattered, being on the receiving end of the letters is a different world. I remember after walking 42km in 40 degree weather, I wanted to collapse, but we got back to base and I received a package from outside of Israel. I needed that boost more than anything, and a little third grade girl who scribbled down a few nice words made all the difference.
Happy Independence day from Israel,