For paratroop commanders, US background is handy

"Knowing English comes in handy since it helps us better understand needs of lone soldiers, communicate with new immigrants," Lt. Dvir says.

August 14, 2011 03:05
2 minute read.
IDF Paratrooper company commanders

IDF Paratrooper company commanders 311. (photo credit: IDF)


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Lt. Tamir was born in New York to Israeli parents who had left the country for schooling and work.

When he was seven, they returned. Capt. Tzachi was born in Oklahoma where his father, a former IDF brigadier-general and commander of the Artillery Corps, had been sent for training.

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Lt. Dvir was born two months after his parents moved to Israel from Long Beach, New York, and settled in the Jordan Valley.

Lt. Avishai’s parents came from Cleveland and Boston and he was born just a few weeks after they received their apartment in the Ra’anana absorption center.

All four are US citizens, but they are also are the current commanders of the companies of new recruits who enlisted into the IDF Paratroop Brigade last week.

While they all speak English, they do not resort to the language during meetings, according to Dvir, 25, who lives in Jerusalem with his wife and son.


“We mostly speak a third language called ‘army’ which is a mixture of Hebrew and slang,” he said. “Knowing English does come in handy though since it helps us better understand the needs of lone soldiers, to communicate with new immigrants and to help make their service easier.”

Avishai, 24, said that serving as a company commander in the Paratroop Brigade and coming into contact with lone soldiers helped him understand what his parents went through when they moved to Israel in the late 1980s.

“I look at the lone soldiers and begin to understand what my parents must have gone through when they moved here all by themselves and two months later had me,” he said.

Tzachi grew up in a military home. His two siblings followed in their father’s footsteps and served in the Artillery Corps but he decided to “rebel” – as he called it – and enlisted in the elite undercover Duvdevan Unit, which operates under the Paratroop Brigade.

He said that the fact that all four of the company commanders at the brigade’s training base were US citizens but were still living in Israel and serving in the IDF was a testament to their high-level of motivation and the importance in contributing to the country.

“You hear a lot about Israelis with dual citizenship who leave the country, go on trips or even go work abroad,” he said. “The fact that we can do that and decide not to, should not be taken for granted.”

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