Two-hundred-forty new immigrants drafted into the IDF in August began their basic training at Mikve Alon base last week.

The base was specifically set up to teach immigrant soldiers how to speak and understand Hebrew and to assist their acclimatization into Israeli society and the military.

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Three months of basic training and language courses precede the new soldiers' service in their particular units.

Approximately 130 of the new enlistees are considered "lone soldiers," that is, they have no family in Israel.

One lone soldier, Oriel Kalifi, 20, from New York, whose mother was born in Israel and father in India, said "Throughout my stay here I met people in combat units and with other interesting positions in the army, and understood that the IDF molds Israeli youth on a very personal level. The IDF builds character."

One-hundred-ten of the August 2010 Mikve Alon class will serve in combat units when they finish basic training.

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