Caio Marcel Weinstein.
(photo credit: IDF Spokesperson's Office)
Marcel Weinstein and Caio Feuerstein have been best friends ever since they can
remember. They went to the same school and summer camps, and every day kicked a
soccer ball around the streets near their homes in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
kids though they never imagined that they would both immigrate to Israel and not
only serve at the same time in the IDF but also in the same unit – the Home
Front Command’s elite Search-and-Rescue Unit.
Weinstein and Feuerstein,
today 20, first came to Israel together in 2006 for their sophomore year of high
school. The Second Lebanon War that summer foiled their plans to complete high
school together after Weinstein’s parents ordered him back home over what seemed
like an unstable security situation in Israel. It was the first time their paths
had split since third grade.
While Weinstein returned to Sao Paulo to
complete high school, he did so reluctantly. After graduation, he sat
down with his parents and told them that he had made up his mind and that he was
returning to Israel.
“I am going back to serve in the IDF,” he
“I decided to come back and I convinced them even though it wasn’t
easy,” he said. “They ultimately supported me since they understood that
serving in the army was part of my growing up and learning about life and this
was something they couldn’t argue with.”
Last August, Weinstein was
drafted into the Home Front Command, following closely in the footsteps of his
friend Caio, who was drafted into the same search-and-rescue unit just several
months earlier. While a draft ahead, Feuerstein says that he sees his best
friend often – during training exercises and deployments throughout the
The Home Front Command’s Search-and Rescue Unit is responsible
for all rescue operations following earthquakes or missile attacks and often
deploys overseas in humanitarian missions such as in Haiti, Turkey and
“I came to Israel especially to do the army and looked for what
was most important and this is it,” Feuerstein said. “We save lives and that is
why I am serving here.”
In a phone conversation from Sao Paulo, Ariel
Weinstein, Marcel’s older brother, admitted that it was at first extremely
difficult for his parents when his brother decided to go back to
“Everyone is at home, he is the smallest brother and we all worry
about him all the time,” Ariel said. “But, he wanted to go to Israel and it is
his life to live.”
What will the two do after their army service? Don’t
worry, they say, they will continue to be together and the two friends are
already planning their post-army trip overseas. After that? Who knows, they say.
“Maybe we will open a Brazilian restaurant in Israel.”