(photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)
Victor Reichmann is not your average IDF lone soldier. At 25, he is slightly
older than most lone soldiers but he is not the oldest. In the beginning of this
series, we profiled a lone soldier who is 29 years old. What makes Reichmann
unique is his rank – a captain – making him possibly the highest-ranking lone
soldier in the Israeli military today.
Reichmann shies away from titles.
After all, he says, he is just doing what every Israeli should do – defend his
Reichmann’s aliya story dates back to 2001 when his parents, who
still live in Moscow, decided to send him to Israel to attend high school. No
one in his family had ever been here before but his mother was a frequent
attendee at Jewish Agency meetings in the Russian capital.
heard of Na’aleh, a program under which Jewish teenagers come alone to Israel
for high school.
Victor was on a flight a few months later to Tel
Being an outsider, he says, high school was not always easy, but
still, he graduated at the top of his class.
At first, Reichmann says, he
thought about joining Atuda – the army’s academic program, which trains soldiers
as engineers or other professions and they then serve in important but, mostly
administrative jobs. Victor couldn’t see himself tied to a desk job though.
After reading the book Our Man in Damascus
– which chronicles the story of Eli
Cohen, a top Israeli spy who was captured and killed in Syria – Reichmann
decided that he too needed to give more to his new country.
grade I thought about going to Atuda and then I read the book about Eli Cohen,
who left his family and went to Syria to spy for Israel,” he said. “I understood
that instead of just doing what is good for me and my immediate family I can do
more for the country, like Eli Cohen.”
REICHMANN TRIED OUT for the IDF’s
elite General Staff Reconnaissance Unit – known as Sayeret Matkal – but did not
pass and instead enlisted into the 101st Battalion of the Paratroopers’ Brigade.
After about 18 months in this unit, he was selected to become an officer and was
placed with the Karakal (Wildcats) Battalion, a mixed male and female combat
unit operating along Israel’s border with Egypt. Karakal soldiers are
responsible for keeping the southern border safe and preventing infiltrations by
terrorist elements. As shown by the launching of Katyusha rockets from the Sinai
Peninsula into Eilat and Jordan last month, this is not always a simple task.
Reichmann slowly climbed the ranks in the battalion from squad commander to
deputy company commander and in a few months he will take up his new post as one
of the unit’s company commanders. His parents, both doctors, have thought about
moving to Israel – his younger brother lives here as well – but have decided to
wait a few more years until they can retire before immigrating. “My parents are
happy and want to eventually come live here,” he said. They are not so happy
that I am in places that are a bit dangerous but they are proud.” Reichmann
plans on continuing a career in the IDF and hopes one day to be the commander of
the Karakal Battalion. “First, though, I want to be a company commander,” he
Does he recommend that other Jews from the Diaspora come serve in
the IDF as lone soldiers? It is a difficult question since each case needs to be
But, he says, the IDF is the place where he
learned to distinguish between good and bad. “This is where I am able to
contribute to my country,” he says.